On Finishing (Or Not Finishing) Books — July 29, 2013

On Finishing (Or Not Finishing) Books

There are two types of finishing to talk about under that ambiguous title. First, finishing writing that first draft of your manuscript. Second, finishing reading a book published by someone else. (Okay, there’s a third, finishing the manuscript to completion by editing and revising and getting it published.)

I really want to focus more on that second one. I’m sure I’ve talked endlessly about finishing manuscripts. (I could search but I’m not that concerned.)

Last year, I think there were about 8 books on my TBR pile that I started but never finished.

This year, I was on such a roll. Hadn’t started and not finished a single book. Until this month. I started a couple and set them aside.

I was thinking about it and I think I probably stop reading for a lot of the same reasons an agent or editor might stop.

The most common one is that I am not sucked into the story. This could be for a variety of reasons, but commonly seems to be the stylistic choices made by the author that jar me out of the story.

Second most common is that I don’t care about the MC enough to have anything but apathy about their story.

And the third most common is probably that the antagonist feels too cliche, too cardboard.

What are reasons you stop reading a book you’ve picked up for fun? Or are you a die-hard who has to see a book through to its last word no matter how much you might be suffering?

Whoa, where’d that monkey go? — February 9, 2010

Whoa, where’d that monkey go?

You know that feeling you get when something big in your life ends?
I cried during the last episode of “Enterprise,” not because I cared about the characters, but because it was the end of an era.  We didn’t think there would ever be anything Star Trek again.
And I cried on two different occasions when “Revenge of the Sith” came out, for various reasons, but also because the era was ending.  I grew up on Star Wars and Star Trek.  A big chunk of my life was closing in behind a door that would never be reopened for future generations.  (At least with anything new.)
Granted, I’ve been proven wrong in major ways.
But still, there’s that ending feeling that just makes it feel like part of you has been locked away behind doors blocked with heavy, Marley-esque chains.  A door you can never access again.
Well, that’s how I feel whenever I end a project.  When I finished my novel, titled A Rose by any Other Name, it felt that way.  (A novel which, by the way, will take far too much work to make saleable.)  I felt that way when I finished my chapbook for my last  poetry workshop.
And it’s how I felt yesterday when I wrote the last words of Oracles Promise.  Yes, you read that right.  I wrote the last words.  I finished.  After 8 years, the monkey is finally off my back.  I feel like Steve Young when he led the ‘Niners to a super bowl win.
Q4U: Do you feel similar feelings when you finish a first draft?  When you got your agent?  When you got your book deal?  (Or do you think you’ll feel that way when some door closes on the past journey you’ve taken?)
Don’t forget that there’s still time to ask me a question!  I’ll answer them all during Footloose and Fancy-free Friday!