Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Reading Style

I am, first and foremost, a reader. I think all writers are. With the first book in my recent trilogy out for reviews, I've been thinking a lot about the kind of reader I am. I'm not picky, I'm loyal to my favorite authors and...

I read for the story.

We all do, right? Wrong. Some people live to find plot holes. Others love the technical stuff--sentence structure, punctuation, and pacing. While others want a character driven story. You might want all of the above. I'm mostly interested in the story. Sure I fall in love with characters, but my favorite kind of story sucks in me into the entire world. I want to fall in love with all of it. I rarely pay attention to typos and punctuation. Nor do I care abut plot holes (unless I can drive my SUV through them). I'm a forgiving reader, which would make me a horrible reviewer. I can count on one hand the number of books I've been unable to finish.

When I read, it's for the experience of the story. Of course, when I critique, it's a different matter (and another topic). I have a hard time rating books when I'm reading for pure enjoyment. If I can't give it 4 or 5 stars, I don't leave a review.

I simply want to read a book and be entertained, horrified, educated, or enchanted.

Books are magical. I don't want to ruin the magic by focusing on typos or dangling modifiers. That takes away all the fun. And by magical I mean the most moving, sweet, funny, scary, educational or powerful book you have on your shelves. We all experience the magic in different ways. It might be the characters, the writer's technical proficiency or something else.

What is the most magical book you've ever read and why?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Apologies To An Editor

I feel the need to post a broad, sweeping apology to my past, present, and future editors. Why, you might ask? Editors put up with a lot. As a writer, it's easy for me to slap words together and call it a story. An editor has to take those words and make them sparkle. It's a messy, sometimes thankless process--and that's being generous. Editors have to deal with divas, whiners, and OCD authors on top of making the book beautiful. I don't envy them, but I sure do appreciate them. I'm convinced they all possess a magic wand, a thick skin, and some serious coping methods. So without further ado...

1) I'm sorry for my irritating writing habits, such as multiple instances of eyes rolling. No, not on the floor, just with attitude. I can't seem to stop with just one character. Or two. Or five. They all have to do it. I try to catch the worst of it, but the rolling eyeballs are a compulsion. Same goes for characters drinking coffee. And sitting at a table. know the rest. If it helps, please know I started an Editing No-No Notebook. I might need a second one soon.

2) I'm sorry for the plot holes big enough to swallow a town of 20,000 people. It's not intentional. The holes don't exist in my head. Don't laugh--what I mean is, those plot holes don't exist in my mind as the story unfolds. There seems to be an occasional 5 second delay from my brain to my typing fingers, during which some information seems to was I saying?

3) I'm sorry for joking about hemorrhoid cream. No really, I am. On the bright side, at least I didn't try to write a poem or a song verse to plug into the story. That would be far more painful to read, trust me. Your brain would need serious exfoliation after that.

4) I'm sorry for my bad habit of mixing up "me" and "my." I really do know the difference--cross me heart and hope...ahem...cross MY heart and hope to die.

5) I'm sorry for my dyslexic tendencies. In the 5th grade, I missed getting 100% on my periodic table test by one question. I put "5" instead of "F" for iron. The teacher made fun of me for such a "stupid" mistake. He was a rat bastard, but fortunately, you are far more understanding. Funny enough, the character I killed off in Ch., bears a striking resemblance to him.

6) I'm sorry for the late nights you spend fixing my mistakes. I feel like I should buy you a monthly subscription to a wine club. Or coffee club. I guess it depends on whether you need to dull the pain, or barrel your way through it.

7) And last but not least, I'm sorry I twitch whenever I read or hear the phrases, "Revise," "Please revise," "Cliche, please revise." and "Not another &*%! cliche!" I'm also sorry you have to type it.

Editors don't get the credit they're due (though they're very popular at writing conferences). With my apology, I'll also extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to the hard working editors out there--especially mine. And for the record, I received my first pass edits BEFORE I wrote this, so this shouldn't be considered a bribe. *cough*


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lasting Impression

We've all have that book (or books) that made such an impression on us, we come back to them again and again and again. We have lovingly worn copies on our bookshelves, and recommend it to friends without fail. These are the books we refuse to lend out because we don't want to risk not getting them back. You know the kind of books I'm talking about. Here's a list of my top books:

1) The Wolf and The Dove by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. This is the first romance book I ever read (though not one I recommend for a 12 year old). She will forever be one of my writing heroes. She was a pioneer for the genre, and a master story teller of her time.
2) The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. Every time I read this book, I'm blown away by Mr. Coelho's ability to write such a powerful tale, in such simple, poignant words.

3) The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King. Not everyone enjoys the master of horror, but this series is one of my favorites. I also enjoyed his book On Writing. It's a must for writing hopefuls.

4) Steering by Starlight by Martha Beck. For anyone who has lost sight of their path, this book is amazing, frank and fun. Ms. Beck has a way of making you feel like you're talking to your best friend.
5) The Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts. This is one of my all-time favorite fiction series. I lo-o-ove mythology. This book prompted my very first email to an author. I had to know if the myth was real or a creation of Ms. Robert's imagination. Her publicist was kind enough to answer my questions.
6) The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich. Any time I want to laugh and be thoroughly entertained, I pick up one of these books. And I don't care if I ever learn if Stephanie picks Ranger or Joe. This series has me howling with every new book.

7) The Dark Hunter Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Nobody knows how to write an alpha male quite like Ms. Kenyon. She's also a world builder extraordinaire. Love, love, love her writing. And I get to meet her in October. It will be my first official, geek out, fan girl moment.

8) Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. This book is my favorite inspirational book of all time. My kids think it's weird that I read it often. What's not to love? It's upbeat, short and sweet, and it rhymes! I have to give props to Dr. Seuss, lyrical master.

This list is by no means complete. I have utmost respect for so many talented authors out there, I don't have time to list them all. Needless to say, I do my part to keep starving authors off the streets. And as a reader first, I'm thankful they've shared their talent, and fed my reading addiction *cough* I mean hobby.
Who is your favorite author? What is your favorite book?