Tag Archives: reading

The End of the Adventure.

series

So today is Sworn’s release day.

How am I feeling?

Excited. I’m more proud of this book than anything I’ve done before, and I’ve never released anything I wasn’t 100% in love with. I can’t wait for readers to see how the story ends. Those who have read it have been extremely enthusiastic about it, which makes me even more excited. Sworn is already creeping up the Amazon charts, which is pretty damned cool.

And I feel drained. Yesterday’s release party was a total blast, but eight hours at the computer does take it out of you (thank heavens for guest authors who popped in for giveaways so I could eat!). And I probably don’t have to explain why I haven’t been sleeping well for a while, with everything I’ve had to do to get ready for the release.

And proud. This has been the biggest project I’ve ever taken on, and I’ve done it without a boss or a publisher breathing down my neck. This has been my baby from start to finish, from draft to editor selection to cover design to proofreading. And I did it. Hell yes, I’m proud of my easily-distracted and procrastination-prone and self-doubting self for pulling this off.

And sad. I’ve been working with these characters for five years now, and we’ve grown a lot together. I’m not ready for this to be over. I’m going to miss them and their world.

And thankful. I say this has been my baby, but I wouldn’t be here without my critique partners, my beta readers, my editors, my cover artist, the blog friends who have shared posts and supported me…

…and the readers. I’m so overwhelmed with thankfulness for the readers. The people who buy books, read books, recommend books, review books, share books, and above all LOVE books. The people who bring characters and worlds to life in their imaginations, who carry parts of their favourite characters with them even when they story is done.

My stories would just be words without them.

And okay, I’m a little scared. I feel like I’m standing at the edge of a cliff. I have to jump into a new story (already started and going swimmingly, due out in June… with an actual outside deadline this time). And that’s fine. It’s exciting. And it’s terrifying.

But I’ll get through it. And I’m glad you guys will be here with me to see this adventure through.

And the next.

And the next.

Thank you.

**Sworn purchase links available at www.katesparkes.com 

(PS- thanks to everyone who has helped spread the word about the sale! The full trilogy is now available for under $10 USD, at least on retailers that don’t adjust prices upward. Not too shabby!)

sworn release pricing promo


The Things That Are Happening

Let’s start with a question I feel is important:

Where did July go?

Was it not just Canada Day a week ago, give or take? I mean yes, a lot has happened, but I’m honestly confused about how it can be almost August already.

Let’s think this through.

I guess there were a few weeks spent on minor revisions and edits to Sworn, getting that ready to go to my editor. That was all done at the dining room table (because my office was packed) while various neighbourhood children ran through the house hollering and distracting and FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING WOULD YOU ALL JUST GO OUTSIDE. And at the same time as I was doing that, I was also cleaning the house so we wouldn’t be too embarrassed when people came to move our furniture. There were phone calls and notes and a trip to Corner Brook to sign the papers to buy our first house. The moving stuff didn’t leave a lot of time for work, but I fit it in.

There was also something about cover art… I dunno.

I guess that explains a bit of me not noticing time passing.

Then there was last week, when we actually moved. Packing on Monday, loading the truck on Tuesday (and hours spent cleaning AGAIN), unloading in a new town on Wednesday, unpacking… well, every day since then.

It’s coming along. The kitchen was a disaster, but I fixed it. Here’s a tip for anyone lucky enough to have someone paying for your move: Don’t let the movers unpack everything in the kitchen. When they run out of counter space they have no choice but to shove things into random cupboards, and this triples the work for you.

At least.

The bedrooms are livable. The man cave is all geeked out and ready for my husband to retreat to. The living room and dining room are lacking in decoration, but they’re not completely embarrassing. The family room is… well, the TV is set up, and that’s the important thing for now.

The only room we haven’t touched is my office, because I’ve been working on everything else.

But this week. THIS WEEK, guys. We’re going to build my desk and a new bookshelf, I’m going to hang my beloved NaNoWriMo posters, I’m going to get organized, get comfortable, and get back to work.

Wait.

*checks calendar*

Actually, I’m not. I just finished formatting and spell-checking, and Sworn goes to Joshua on Friday. This gives me two weeks, give or take, without that project to work on. Normally I’d dive back into my next project, but the kids are home, the house needs attention, and there are neighbours to meet, dogs to walk, and a birthday party to plan.

Know what that means?

READING TIME! Sure, I’ll be working on brainstorming ideas for the next big project, and I’ll be getting ideas about things I really should have done with Sworn before it went for edits. There will be notes. Oh, so many notes. But for the first time since before Bound came out, I’m kind of going to be taking a vacation.

Sort of.

And like… reading and stuff.

My TBR list for the first half of August: A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Queen of the Tearling, Anna and the French Kiss, and For Love or Money (non-fiction book on advancing an indie writing career, because I can’t leave work behind completely).

You know. After I get this mess sorted out.

IMG_3220

 


WIPpet Wednesday: All Trussed Up and No Place to Go

So… yeah. This character and I are getting along famously. I don’t know whether anyone else will love her as much as I do, but things are just peachy.

I mean, the plot needs work, but the character is there.

Catalen is at a wealthy person’s house, and someone’s been getting her dressed up for a fancy dinner. Cat is a little out of her element, but she handles these things pretty well. At least, she has so far. She’s on a mission, and her self-confidence has yet to take a beating.

WIPpet math: 2 + 6 + 1 + 1=10 sentences. First draft warnings apply.

By the time Madam Hat is done with me, I’m trussed up like a hen ready for roasting. My waist looks waspish under this striped blue corset, and my tits are squished nearly up to my chin. I could eat off of them. I swear there’s room to balance a plate, maybe a cup and some cutlery.

But when I look in the mirror, I realize that I’m the one who looks like a feast. The full blue skirt puffs out so you can’t tell what’s dress and what’s me, and it’s long enough that I seem to be floating when I tiptoe across the floor. I’m all curves in this thing—not that I wasn’t damn fetching before, but now I look like the girls in movies.

Feck that. I look better than them. Definitely more fun and more capable, and less likely to blow away in a stiff breeze.

You know what they say goeth before a fall, right? We’ll just leave her to enjoy this moment for now.

For more WIPpet Wednesday fun, click here. If you want to join in, the only rule is that you post a snippet from a current work in progress that relates in some way to today’s date. And it’s not a rule, but being a good neighbour is encouraged. Get out there, read some! Comment some! We all love it, and tend to return the favour.  🙂

Many thanks as always to the Flying Monkey-Master (or is that Flying-Monkey Master?) KL Schwengel, who hosts WIPpet Wednesday every week.

ROW80 UPDATE

Okay. I’m still trying to win NaNoWriMo, because all of my friends are getting pretty dragon badges, and I WANT ONE.

It’s the little things, you know?

So here’s the plan. If I can write 5,000 words today and 5,000 tomorrow, I’ll have done it. Three separate projects this month, but 50,000 new words. I’m not going to have access to my computer(s) after tomorrow, so this is it.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and as far as goals after that go… I do have this Bound-related short story back from my editor that I’d love to share with you all before Torn comes out, but I haven’t even read over the notes/corrections yet. So I guess that’s what comes next.

Other updates:

Reading— I did some this week! I read Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking* by Malcolm Gladwell, and it was fascinating. I read that thing in less than 24 hours. These days, most books take me weeks. Interesting information, and well-written. I’ll be looking for more of his stuff.

I also finished Broken Aro (The Broken Ones Book 1)* by Jen Wylie just last night. I enjoyed this book, too, and look forward to seeing what happens as the characters’ adventures continue.

It’s never too late to join in on ROW80 if you feel the need for some creative accountability. Here’s the link.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’re having a great Wednesday, whatever you’re up to.

*Affiliate links. These cost you nothing extra, but if you buy after clicking, they help me out. I feel skeevy not mentioning it, though…


P is for Pleasure

…and reading for it.

It used to be that I could get completely lost in a book with no problems. Heaven help my family if it was a series– they might not have clean laundry for a while. There was very little that bothered me about anyone’s writing, at least not enough to distract me from the story.

That’s changed, and I’m sad about it.

These days, I feel like reading is a chore a lot of the time. There are too many books I need to read: things I’ve told friends I’ll read and critique for them, great books in the genres I write in that I’ve never got to, books in other genres that I think will broaden my horizons. And there are the ones I don’t need to read, but want to: the ones I’ve grabbed for free or cheap on the Kindle, ones I picked up because friends raved about them or because I loved the idea and the cover, books by blog buddies. I just feel guilty for not getting to those.

So a lot of my fiction reading feels like homework. I do end up enjoying many of the books on my “need to read” list, but at the back of my mind there’s always the knowledge that there’s something else I need to get to when this one is done.

The other problem is that when you spend a lot of time learning (and yes, often breaking) the “rules” of writing, you notice when other books have flaws.

To be clear: I think writing rules are made to be broken, if we do it intentionally and in full knowledge of why the “rule” exists. But when everything you read from writers, agents, editors, etc. says AVOID INFODUMPS, it’s hard to not be distracted when a bestseller has them in huge chunks at the beginning of chapters– especially when it illustrates why this is actually a pretty good rule.

I’d give examples, but they’d all make me sound like a hypocritical know-it-all nobody, and that’s not how I mean it at all. I make exactly the same mistakes, which is probably why my brain wants me to be alert to them. I am in no position to criticize, which is why I don’t write negative reviews. I respect everyone’s work, and I certainly don’t judge anyone for things I don’t like– personal taste is personal, yo. I like a good rule-breaker, and I never want to be legalistic about anything in writing.** I don’t want to be the snot-nosed know-it-all who criticizes the pros, because I hate that dude.

But I’m being honest about something that I understand is my issue and really has nothing to do with other writers. When these things pop into my head like they would when I’m editing my own work, it’s distracting. It keeps me from becoming immersed in the story.

I HATE THIS. It’s is one of few things I actually dislike about being a writer.

I want to go back to just reading for pleasure, without analyzing why someone’s writing blows me away or leaves me flat. Sure, that’s incredibly valuable for my own work, but for me it sucks the fun out of everything. I wish I could shut that part of my brain off and forget about technique sometimes.

Have any of you struggled with this? Can you fix me? Does reading feel like homework, or do you find yourself unable to turn off your inner editor, even when reading a best-seller?*** Or are you able to lose yourself in any book at any time?

Just tell me this is a phase, ok?

For more A-Z Challenge, mosey this-a-way, pardner.

 

 

*Not that this was the only reason I didn’t love it, but it was one distraction.

**Well… nothing style-related. I will judge the heck out of straight-up unreadable writing if it’s published. I can’t help that.

***SERIOUSLY, inner editor. Get your head out of your butt and shut up.


K is for Kindle

…and Kobo, because I’ve used both. For the record, I like my Kindle better (this is comparing the Kindle PaperWhite to a fairly basic, nomal-sized Kobo). I like the back-light, I like the screen set-up, and I definitely prefer the store, which has a greater selection and cheaper books.

New toy!

New toy!

No, I’m not a fan of Kindle exclusive content and all of that, but whatever floats your boat.  You just go on with your bad selves, author-publisher types.

What I’m going to do here is link to a few books I’ve bought and/or read recently, and invite you all to do the same. Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords, author sites, etc. Link to what you’ve bought, what you’ve recently enjoyed, or your own e-books you’ve got on sale in the comments. Gimme a blurb, gimme a price, gimme your thoughts, gimme a link.

DO MY WORK FOR ME, MINIONS.

The Butterfly Storm (Kate Frost, contemporay romance) <– currently reading

Under the Empyrean Sky (Chuck Wendig, Dystopian YA/Cornpunk)   <– read, LOVED

Emergence (KL Schwengel, Fantasy)  <– beta read, loved, still need to read finished product

Siren’s Secret (Debbie Hurst, Romance avec mermaids)  <– just started

Unteachable (Leah Raeder, NA Contemporary Romance) <– have not read

Blackbirds (Chuck Wendig, contemporary cussing) <– have not read

The Crimson League (Victoria Grefer, Fantasy) <– have not read

 

…and there’s the problem. I could list thirty more books, all “have not read.” See, I get these e-mails with free and cheap e-books, and I grab them if they look good.

And then I never find time to read them. I’m looking through my Kindle library and I don’t remember buying half of the books I see there. Don’t remember what they’re about, or why I bought them, so I’m in no rush to open them, read them, or review them*. Not that my paperback shelf is better, thanks to 40% off sales at Walmart and the secondhand book store, but the Kindle definitely provides more temptation and more opportunity to forget what I bought.

How do you all deal with that? Do you set reading goals? Refuse to buy more books until you get the TBR pile down a bit? Or are you happy to let your library grow unchecked, not worrying whether you’ll ever get to reading a book you got for free or paid very little for, just happy in the knowledge that there’s a library there to browse when you want it?

All of this kind of makes me understand how many books there really are out there (as in, 600,000+ published last year alone).

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the DNF (Did Not Finish) ones…

So go ahead. Tell me what you’ve picked up recently, what’s good, what you’re selling, and how you deal with your reading list. Then head over to the A-Z Challenge list and see what someone else is up to!

 

*Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve read a single book I’ve got for free. Hmm.

 

 

 

 


Writing and Reading and ROWing, Oh My!

Hey, look at me, being ready to get in on something at the beginning!

Since I already have two posts scheduled for tomorrow (the actual start date for this round of “A Round of Words in 80 Days”), I’m going to post this today. It’s Sunday, right? Regular update day.

GOALS

Writing:

Bound: finish editing this draft and have it out to readers by August 1. This should leave time for the fine-toothed comb treatment if I use my time wisely, but will depend on what I can get done before we go on holidays at the end of the month.

Torn: finish a full draft by the end of this round. This is a challenge for me, as this is another thing that was lost when I my own computer broke, so I’ve been starting from scratch. Big changes were coming, anyway, but it would have been nice to have my road-map…

Super Secret Project: Remember when I had those vampires bouncing around in my head, and I used them to take a break from my fantasy world? I have the beginnings of another world rattling around in my brain, and it all started to come together when I was walking the dog yesterday. No promises or goals, except to say that if I need a break, I’ll be working on this, and possibly offering an opening scene some time for WIPpet Wednesday. It’s not a genre I’ve had anything to do with in the past, so this could be interesting…

Disregard the Prologue: Yes, blog goals! I’m going a 31 day challenge in July, to keep me going through vacation and to allow me to schedule posts (because everything else is just going to be going SO WELL that I won’t need the distraction of this blog. HA!). So for July, I’ll make it a goal to post every day. After that… Well, I’ll readjust, and stop bombarding y’all with myself.

Other Stuff:

Art: I need to do a couple of custom My Little Ponies by the end of the summer, so I’m throwing that goal in here, because they’ll never get done otherwise. Two by the end of August, for sure, and if I can find time, there’s a personal project I’ve been itching to get to. This is what happens when you have a friend who sells doll hair, and you can’t stop yourself from buying all the pretty colours.

Family: Throwing a few more personal goals in here. Meal planning every week, one big, fun outing with the kids every week of vacation, reading one book (or chapter of a book) with each of the kids every day. Yes, we’re sometimes bad about that, especially when they forget to remind be until it’s quarter-past bedtime.

Reading: A book a week. Shouldn’t be too hard, but sometimes I get off-track when nothing’s grabbing me. I’ve got a ton of books waiting, though, so it should be fine. I have one book I’m alpha reading for someone this summer (I didn’t even know that term until she asked me… I’ve only used beta readers. You learn something new every day, don’t you?), I have my new paperbacks, I have a few books to finish on my kobo, and a bunch stranded in the Kindle app on my computer… plus the library. This should be doable, especially if I sit outside and read when the kids are playing.

So that’s the big, overarching goals. As far as time spent/word count, those goals will have to be broken down as I go along. My word count goal for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo session is only 25,000 words, and I’m cheating (editing/partial rewrites), so my goal should be 1,000 words a day… unless you account for vacation… so still 2,000 words a day.  After that, who knows? Maybe I’ll go easy on myself in August, or maybe I’ll have to write my poor little heart out to distract me from the torment of hearing back from beta readers (who I love. Have I mentioned that I love you all?).

Wish me luck… and let me know if you’re participating so I can be sure to stop by and offer encouragement as the round goes on! I don’t always get updates on the blogs I’ve signed up to follow…


Stop Being Awesome. Stop it NOW.

Seriously, guys. I go away for the weekend to the Land That WiFi Forgot, and I come back to an impossible number of tempting blog posts in my WordPress reader. Even being selective has left me with over a dozen open tabs waiting to be read.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?

Knock it off with the insight and the encouragement and the sharing of links that I then have to click on and read because they are ALSO useful or delightful. Stop making me happy to see your names on those posts and your smiling faces beside your re-blogs.

Stop being such an amazing community of writers, because it’s super distracting. I don’t have time for this many superstars in my life.

*sigh*

Ugh, fine, don’t look at me like that. You just keep doing what you do, I’ll deal with it somehow. Just don’t expect big word count numbers from me until I get caught up. 🙂

(I wish I could say I used the weekend for that,  but I find it hard to get writing done at the in-laws’ house. I did get more editing done on Bound, though, and I’m thinking I need a couple more beta readers for mid-to-late summer. I’ll put up a post requesting those when the time comes, but if anyone wants to volunteer to subject yourself to that, I’m just looking for people who are willing to point out story/character issues, slow spots, unanswered questions that absolutely can’t wait for the sequel, WTF moments… the big stuff, no need for nitty-gritty grammar issues just yet. Raise your hand, shoot me a message at kate.sparkes (at) live (dot) ca, send up a smoke signal somewhere visible from my house, whatever. And bring the awesome!)


…Because I’m an Idiot, That’s Why

JuNoWriMo starts in two days. Technically less than two days. My brain has been wandering everywhere lately– that is, everywhere except where I want it to go, which is writing.  I need fewer distractions in my life, especially for the next month, when I’m going to be trying for 2,000 words a day (and hopefully most of those before the kids get up in the morning, fingers crossed, yeah right).

So what did I do today?

I WENT TO THE EFFING LIBRARY.

ImageNot only did I go and look at books, I also got out more books than I could hope to finish in a normal two-week period, never mind one when I’m supposed to be writing all of the time.

I picked up a few books I’ve heard a lot about but never went OH MY GOODNESS I HAVE TO READ THAT RIGHT NOW and a few that have been recommended to me personally. Maybe it’s not fair to the books, but here’s how this is going to go: they have maybe three chapters, depending on length, to win me over. If I’m not intrigued/excited/curious/whatever (really, I’m open to a host of possibilities) by then, I’m not wasting my time on it.

Is that unreasonable? All we hear as writers is that it’s our job to hook readers in the first pages. The first paragraphs, even, if you’re talking about querying agents. Is it my responsibility as a reader to give a book more than three chapters to win me over? Even if the story isn’t in full swing by then (and I’m not saying it needs to be; I can enjoy a slow build or a quiet beginning), it needs to have promised me something that will keep me going.

It’s no different from dating, I guess. First dates don’t have to be perfect, but you’ve got to make a good impression. I don’t need to know everything about you by the third date (and please, I don’t need to have SEEN everything by then), but there’s got to be chemistry there. If there’s not, there are other people I could be spending time with who might work out better. It’s not you, it’s not me, it’s just not working.

I guess that’s an advantage of library books, at least for readers. If I spend money on a book, I’ll probably push harder to finish it. Now, if it’s not a good book this also means I’ll hate it more by the end, but I’ll at least try to finish it. If I have no money invested, I’m much more likely to leave it and go find something I DO enjoy.

So that’s the plan for these books. I’m going to give them a fair shot when I have time (and thank goodness for library renewals!), and I hope I’ll enjoy all of them.

And no, I won’t be reviewing/talking about any that I don’t finish. 🙂

How do you approach books? Do you feel like you HAVE to finish a story once you’ve started it? I used to. Do you think books deserve a chance to get good in the middle, or do you expect to be hooked/entertained right away? What pulls you in to a book? Voice? Action? A world that you want to take up permanent residence in? Characters who are interesting, either because you love them or hate them? What turns you off right away?

PS- if you’re a blogger friend and I have your book, I promise it’s still on my TBR list, but I’m waiting until I have time to really enjoy it. Yours get more than 3 chapters. 😉


He Looks Like What?!

So here I am, reading “Imminent Danger and How to Fly Straight into it” and having a grand old time. I like Eris a lot (maybe partly because she reminds me so much of me), and Michelle Proulx has managed to create a male… well, I don’t know what he is. He’s certainly antagonistic, but something tells me he’s not going to end up being the enemy, so… prantagonist. That’s what he is. Anyway, he might be even less likeable than mine, which pleases me greatly. Why go half-way, right?

The book is a YA sci-fi, which means lots and lots of ALIENS. Obviously an author isn’t going to spend pages describing every detail of every creature we run into; that would be boring, and to my mind unnecessary. If it’s not important to my understanding of the story, I like to be given a few details to sketch a character in my mind, and then be allowed to fill in the rest myself. Tell me a character is deadly attractive and give me a few details; let me decide the rest for myself.

This book is a good example of that approach, but it’s made me consider a question I’ve asked myself before: how do the characters in my mind match up with the ones in the author’s?

This goes for any book. It’s one of the reasons I get nervous when a favourite book is being turned into a movie or TV mini-series (hi there, Under the Dome!); there’s no way all of the actors will look like they do in my head, and it ruins it a bit for me.

I drew a sketch of one of the characters from Imminent Danger, Miguri. He’s described as humanoid, 3 feet tall, brown-skinned, with massive blue eyes and a mop of white hair, plus a huge white, furry tail. He wears a brown, knee-length, belted tunic. Also, Eris thinks he looks like a cross between a monkey and a garden gnome, which kind of tickled me. And this is what came to mind:

20130322-133548.jpg

I didn’t say it was a GOOD sketch 😉

It’s a great description, isn’t it? But I’d be willing to bet money that Michelle Proulx’s mental image of Miguri is nothing like mine. There were still blanks to be filled in, weren’t there? Ear shape, for one. My mind made them big and pointy, I don’t know why. Face shape is another; I guess what I see in my mind came from the monkey thing. Even the shape of the milky-white gem on his belt and the way that it’s hanging are probably off; I picture a smooth, round gem, but in the author’s mind it could be cut and polished.

I like that. It’s like a collaboration between writer and reader, and something new is created every time a different person reads a story.

I also wonder what people think my characters look like, the ones I’ve created. I tend to lean toward less description; Rowan has auburn hair and grey eyes, fact. I know exactly what she looks like in my mind, but does it really matter if someone else pictures her differently? Not so much. Aren gets a bit more description as Rowan notices things about him, but again the details are up to the reader to fill in. Does it affect the story if I think Rowan has a few freckles? Not unless Aren notices them when it’s his turn to speak. Then it matters… but he generally has other things on his mind.

Likewise for creatures. I don’t have a plethora of aliens to describe, but I have critters and creatures. My horses are rather unusual, so they get a few extra lines of description, but when a dog appears and I say “brown shaggy mutt,” you guys can feel free to give him floppy ears or straight as you see fit. Heck, give him white socks and a black patch over one eye. Have fun with it.

Stephen King says a little about this in On Writing, and if you haven’t read that one, I highly recommend it. He’s an author who tends to give very little physical description of characters unless it’s important to the story (or his POV character is observing it), but I’ve never had trouble picturing his characters in my mind.

One other note, while we’re on the topic: do you guys remember when they revealed the casting for the Hunger Games movie, and there were people who were outraged that Rue was being played by a black girl? Oh, the horror. -_-  How dare they use this beloved character to promote some kind of… Well, I don’t even remember what the arguments were, I tuned them out, they all sounded like assholes. Basically, people thought it was political, and were for some reason upset about racial diversity.

Guess what?

“She has bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin…”

The Hunger Games, chapter 7, page 98 in my edition. Quoted.

It doesn’t matter how you describe your characters, people are going to see what they want to see in their minds. If I pictured Miguri as a fluffy, pink-haired, horse-faced, 7-foot-tall thing with nifty shoes… that would be really weird, but I doubt the author would lose any sleep over it.

What do you guys think? When you’re reading, do you see characters clearly in your mind? Do you prefer more description, or less? When (and if) you’re writing, how badly do you want your readers to understand your vision of your characters, human or otherwise?


Critical

I don’t mind most aspects of the editing process, but there is one thing that really bothers me: when I’m editing my own work, I become extremely critical of other people’s.

In a way, it makes no sense. These are published books I’m finding fault with, so obviously they’re doing a lot of things right. Most things, even. Who am I to criticize? Me, way down here. Hi.

And I’m not- at least, not where anyone else can see. It’s not that I’m huffing and puffing and throwing books against the wall (usually), then taking to the internet to rail about how I could do so much better. Not at all. I have so much respect for the work that people put into their stories, that their editors do to make it the best it can be, yadda yadda.

All I’m saying is that when I’m editing my own work, it makes it very difficult for me to enjoy other people’s, because I’m subconsciously analyzing everything, evaluating it the way I’m evaluating my own work, spotting the things I would consider fixing if the story was mine, things that work and things that don’t. And it’s really, really annoying.

Right now I’m reading a book I got for Christmas, and of course I’m not going to mention the name of it here. It’s an interesting book- fresh take on the vampire thing, I think (I’m only a few chapters in), where they’re monsters and not love interests. Yay! I should be enjoying it, but it’s hard when my brain won’t just shut up about “uh-huh, jumping right into the main conflict,” or “yep, slipping backstory in there, very smooth.” And that’s when things are going well. I got to page 53-ish and found out (because it’s actually stated outright) that one character is on a mission to save the world, and another is THE KEY TO SAVING ALL MANKIND OMG, and I wanted to put it down and read something else.*

Are those bad things in and of themselves? I guess not. It certainly sets the stakes high, doesn’t it? Now it should matter to me whether this guy succeeds at winning over the special girl who doesn’t know she’s special. But I was disappointed, and that’s probably not fair. Is the “savior of the world” thing overdone? Yes, but that’s no reason to think that a new take on it can’t be exciting. But all I can think is “well THAT was clumsy… Try to save the world, please, but don’t tell me you’re doing it!” If it was a library book, I’d probably have quit. Again, unfair, but I’ve done it before.

And the little things, like a character frequently saying things like “I felt the wind blow my hair” rather than just telling me that the wind blew her hair (obviously you feel it…). Things that I can see people picking on if I wrote it, and that I therefore try to be careful not to overuse. But when I’m reading, I’d like to be able to not notice that, to just see the wind blowing her hair (and/or her feeling it).

At least this one’s not overdoing the adverbs. I recently put another (very popular) book down because the writing style bothered me, and that was a big part of it. Effective when used sparingly, irritating when every time he grinned it was wolfishly, and every time she hurried is was quickly.

I read so much about what works and what doesn’t in writing and why that I pick it out in everything I read. My life has become a high school English class, and it’s driving me insane.

I wish I could let it go when I step away from the computer. I know my work is as bad as or worse than anything these people do, and that I’m probably doing a lot of the things I’m so critical of. My writing certainly has flaws that I’m blind to. I don’t mean to be critical. I just want my brain to shut up and enjoy the effing story already.

Does anyone else have this problem, or are you able to compartmentalize, to leave work at the office, so to speak?

*I’m still hoping that it turns out he’s wrong, that she can’t save the world through her powers and they’ll have to struggle together to find another way. How fun would that be?!


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