Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Not Dead. Wish I Were.

Okay, not really. I'm just super sore, and even typing these few words hurts.

Yesterday was the last day of the massive moving sale, and during slow spots, I cleaned the old house. Ever try to get carpeted stairs clean? Ugh. Even if you can manage to get the attachments on the vacuum to do the job, they only work for the top few and bottom few stairs. And the dustbuster thingie never does carpet very well. I don't know whether it was the brightest idea, but I brushed the stairs by hand. They look lovely, but my hands are paying for it now.

Anyway, you didn't come here to listen to me bitch. (Unless you like that sort of thing.) It wasn't all bad yesterday. I closed up the sale after having sold the majority of my stuff, and hit the grocery store for dinner. (No way was I cooking after all that work.) I bought frozen pizzas, and two bags of chocolate goodies. Something about chocolate-covered peanuts just makes everything better, and chocolate stars? Fuggetaboutit.

The rest of the day was spent watching football, eating, and reading. Since Wednesday, I finished two of the books I bought, and I'm most of the way through another. I expect that third book will be finished this morning. No writing is getting done yet. But reading counts. Right?

Speaking of reading, here are my thoughts on the books I just bought:

Night Caller - Not what I expected, and I'm not sure if I had it to do over again, I'd still buy it, but overall it was a good book. I was afraid the author would screw up the story at the end, and I'd be tempted to throw the book against the wall, but he pulled it out.

Where There's Fire - Pretty good. Worth the $5.97 I paid at Walmart. Problem is, I finished it yesterday and without getting up to look at the cover, I can't remember what it was about. I remember liking it, but the story didn't stick inside my head.

Last Known Victim - This book could be why I can't remember the other one. Nice build up of tension, good characters, zippy story. I could do without all the references to hurricane Katrina - since the hurricane only plays a factor in the beginning of the book - but the author is from New Orleans, so I guess it's more important to her than to a chick stuck in dustbowl CO. It's distracting me from the story, though, and since the story is pretty good, I don't want to be distracted.

What's all this mean to me as a writer? It shows me things I don't want to do in my own books, as well as things I want to make sure I do. Keeping the reader's interest is a definite must, but I also want my work to make enough of an impression that even a brain like mine will remember it the next day. I have to make sure I get my point across without it being a distraction for the reader - and if it's sticking out so much it's pulling the reader out of the story, I either have to weave it in better or leave it out. Finally, I have to write my stories in such a way that the reader never gets the temptation to chuck my work against a wall - even if I do manage to pull it out in the end. If the temptation is great enough, the reader won't get to see how I save the story, because the book will be on the floor.

See? Reading is work. ;o)

Have you learned any lessons from novels you've read that you have applied to your own writing? Or if you don't write, are there any particularly annoying things writers do that irritate the crap out of you? Feel free to dish.



Travis Erwin said...

I'm sore myself right now.

Kristen Painter said...

Reading the Sookie Stackhouse books has certainly shown me how to work in backstory in a series for people who might not be starting the series at book one.