Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A lesson Cathy Ace

READING: Overheard at a recent convention: “I don’t read the way I used to before I was a writer.” Is this something you can relate to? What does it mean for you? Pros and cons?

I can absolutely relate to this, because I now read in two very different ways…and this might be a controversial take on the topic.

I find that if I enjoy a book (be it in the crime genre or my preferred sub-genre of traditional crime), I can still disappear into it and read it as I always have read, for pure pleasure. On the other hand, if I find the book in question isn’t quite what I'd hoped it would be, I pull it apart as I go and find all the clangers, annoyances, and pitfalls I can, mark them up and try to learn from them. 

I know that might sound awful, but those who follow this blog will – by now – know I use it almost as my confessional, so I’m just being honest. 

You’d think I’d say that life’s too short to read a book I’m not enjoying, but I try to learn all the time, so, yes, analyzing what doesn’t work for me is – I think – important. Do I try to analyze what does work for me in the books I enjoy? Yes, I do that too, but only during a second reading. 

Before I was a writer (as in a published novelist) I wouldn’t have bothered finishing a book I wasn’t enjoying, and I wouldn’t probably have read a book I enjoy a second time, immediately. Now I do. So that's a big change. I need to learn, and I think there's only an upside because of the different way I now read. 

However, I admit I read fewer books now than I used to, overall, because I'm finishing more of those I would otherwise have set aside, and am re-reading those I enjoy PDQ. And there are SO MANY books I want to's a bit of a problem in that respect.

I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope it's paying off, though that would be down to me being able to implement what I learn - so there's that...which means I have to keep trying/writing. 

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Susan C Shea said...

So many books to read that sticking with one just to find out why it doesn't work is a real sacrifice!

Cathy Ace said...

I agree, Susan - but I think it's worth it, because I do want to work out why things work/don't work for me as a reader to be better able to use/avoid those sorts of things in my own writing ;-)