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?

Books and Personality — April 28, 2011

Books and Personality

The other day I was deep in conversation with someone and we got to talking about books.  What our favorites are, etc.  Before this person could even answer (they were pausing to think), I jumped in.  This person was in law school, so my immediate assumption (which I spoke aloud), was Tom Clancy.  Indeed they’d read every one of Clancy’s books.

But I’ve been thinking about it, and was this really fair of me to assume?  I mean, I really could have been way off base.

So it got me thinking.  What might people assume I read before I say anything about my reading tastes?

They probably think I read a lot (if not exclusively) of science fiction, being a Trekker and into Star Wars, wanting to see the upcoming Cowboys and Aliens, etcetera.

I’m not sure what else they’d assume about me.  But they’d be surprised to see the broader range of books I read and have read.  (Chaucer, Shakespeare, Sherman Alexie, Dickens, Austen, Bronte, and the list could go on and on.)  In fact, I’ve only ever read one Star Trek book, never even cracked the cover on a Star Wars book, and the most science fiction I’ve read beyond that is a collection of Philip K. Dick short stories in grad school.

What do people assume about your reading habits before you tell them anything about what you’re reading?  Is it fair that we make these sorts of assumptions?

Reading and Writing — December 3, 2009

Reading and Writing

I just can’t read while I’m writing the first draft.  Not for pleasure, anyways.  And since there’s no other type of reading for me to do, I haven’t read in ages.

A couple of months ago, I cracked open a beloved book in hopes of learning something about craft from the words within.  I ended up just getting lost in the author’s world and reading the whole book right then and there.  Forget trying to pay attention to piddly details like craft.

My goal is to finish the draft of Oracles Promise before my birthday.  December 19.   That gives me roughly 16 days to finish the draft from here.  (Is it December already?  Crud.)  I only have 29,361 words left to write.  No big deal, right?

After that, I’m taking a month or so off.  (Could be more thanks to school starting in January.)  No writing.  During this time I’m going to read for pure pleasure and joy.  My TBR list is ever-increasing.  (So is my book wishlist.)

The List:

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
The Naming by Alison Croggon
Fall of a Kingdom by Hilari Bell
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Sturgeon
Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Wake by Lisa McMann
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

My wishlist: (Thanks to Natalie at Between Fact and Fiction and Moonrat at Editorial Ass)

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson
Wings by Aprilynne Pike
Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia by Cindy Pon
 Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

OK, so I realize that this post may have been a virtual repeat of one from September.  But it’s nearing the end of the year and I’m getting stressed out that I’ve yet to tackle my TBR list.  So I wanted to post it as additional motivator.

My theory is, the more carrots I dangle, the faster I’ll write.

It’s not working so far.