Adiscussion the other day led us to talking about reading, specifically about reading books if we aren’t enjoying them.
Some people read a book until the end, no matter what. I refuse to do that. Reading is supposed to be pleasurable, and slogging through an unbelievable plot with unsympathetic characters is not enjoyable. Besides, there are too many other books waiting for me to waste time on a book I don’t like.
Some readers give a book only a page or two before deciding whether or not to continue. I admit it, I was guilty of doing that for years. Reading time was at a premium, and if I wasn’t hooked immediately, I didn’t have time to waste.
Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion neither one is fair. It isn’t fair to me to force myself to read a book I don’t like, and it isn’t fair to only allow an author one or two pages to grab my attention.
Now, I read the blurb on the back of the book, and I’ll force myself through three chapters, regardless of how bad the book is. If I can put the book down without seeing what happens next, I do. If that system is good enough for editors, it’s good enough for me.
What about you? What kind of reader are you?
So we’re finally getting ready to install a new kitchen floor. If we ever get the old peel-and-stick tiles up, that is. It takes FOREVER to peel the tile and scrape, scrub and wipe the glue away. Instead of turpentine, I bought a non-toxic liquid that’s supposed to dissolve glue. Uh … it doesn’t. So my fingers are scraped raw from steel wool, my arms are aching … and the glue is still on the floor.:hissyfit:
But the longer it takes, the more time I have to decide exactly what to install. Vinyl tile is easy, and if one tile gets gouged or ruined, it’s easy to replace. Cushionfloor – the 2001 version of linoleum looks nice, and there aren’t seams. Ceramic/marble/slate is beautiful, but it’s a huge job to install, and it’s cold on the feet. Laminate is the latest trend, but I wonder how well it will hold up over the long term. See my dilemma?:wall:
It’s an old adage, but it’s true. And without practice, skills deteriorate. This was never more clear to me than last night at pool. I got beaten. BADLY. :thumbsdown: Shots I can make 99/100 times were so far off it was as if I was wearing somebody else’s eyeglasses. I couldn’t judge how hard to hit the ball, my angles. Nothing. It was UGLY!!
My skills are disappearing. My game is gone :hissyfit: And there’s only one reason why – I’m not practicing. For a while, I was playing at least three times a week. Two nights of league play and one or two days just practicing – and eating lunch with my dh, but I digress. I only play one night a week now. And it’s starting to show.
The same principle applies to writing, which is why we’re told to write every day. Practice, practice, practice. And it’s also true that when I write every day, my writing shows it. So why don’t I do it? Why am I not eager to get to the computer every morning to see how my skills and techniques are improving?
Hmm, maybe I’ll go play pool while I ponder this.
… cue background music for Bonnie Tyler …
I didn’t feel like writing, so I decided reading a how-to book might assuage my guilt. So I picked up Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. I don’t own the book, but I thought the workbook would surely give me something to think about.
It did. The first question in the first chapter stumped me. The question read, “Who are your personal heroes?”
Tough question. My husband? Yes, he is a hero. Literally. He spent almost thirty years as a firefighter. He’s definitely a hero in my book. My parents? They were great people who raised four children with very little, yet we never realized we weren’t filthy rich. Is that heroic? I think so. But I’m not sure those are the type of people Donald Maass is looking for. I’m still thinking about it.
Do you have a personal hero? Who? And why?
Maggie Shayne gave a workshop at my local RWA chapter meeting this weekend. She has a great sense of humour, and an interesting speaker. She talked about opening hooks, pacing, and conflict.
And I had an aha! moment – one I wish I hadn’t. Because I realized the new project I’m starting doesn’t have enough conflict. The premise works, the opening hook works, the characters are fleshed out – individually. But there’s really no external conflict between the hero and heroine, other than they don’t like each other. :hissyfit: And Maggie made me ask the all-important question – why not?
It’s not enough to have two characters at odds. It’s all in the motivation, baby! Your characters can do anything you want them to do, as long as their reasons are valid. So, it’s back to the drawing board to figure out why these two hate each other so much :wall:
… to do anything you don’t want to do. Granted, some things are an absolute must – like prepare food, do laundry and shower (the people you are in contact with will appreciate it). And for most of us, work.
I’m very fortunate. I don’t have a job. Don’t want one either :thumbsdown: And I’m at that point in my life I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to – and you may have noticed I haven’t blogged in a few days
A few days ago, a friend’s health issue reminded me that life is too short to fill it up with things that don’t matter, and that you don’t enjoy. So, I scrapped the project I was working on. I wasn’t having fun, and if I’m not enjoying it, why do it?
Which brings me to a question – have you ever quit in the middle of a book? Why or why not?
I need a title. Not just any title, but one that will convey the tone of the manuscript I’m working on, and give a hint of the story. I’ve been told I shouldn’t worry about it, that if it sells, the publishing house will probably change it anyway.
But think about it – if that busy editor is about to head home, and needs something to read, is she going to pick up a manuscript with a snappy or intriguing title, or one that’s so generic it could fit any genre? Okay, maybe it won’t make a difference in the long run, but every little thing we can do to draw an editor’s attention to our work is worth the effort.
But even more than that, I need a title. I could call it Cassie’s book, or the HQ book, but that doesn’t exactly call to me in the morning when I turn on the computer.
So, the search is on. I need a title that is fun, light, something to do with psychic ability (but not paranormal). And who knows, if the book sells, the publisher might just let me keep my perfect title.
Am I the only one who feels this way? Do you need just the right title for your book as you write it?