Making Time To Read

On Writing: While I’ve been focusing on streamlining my plotting process and refreshing myself with some of my writing craft books, I’ve also been reading from my TBR pile in the evening. I’m 70% through one book that I’m loving, and it’s given me a few things to consider about my own writing. The book I’m reading is written in 1st person point of view which is used in many YA and NA books. I’ve never attempted 1st person POV, but figured I’d give it a try when I totally gut revise the first book I ever attempted- a YA during NANO one year.

So, this book is a romantic comedy and I fell in love before the 1st chapter ended. (I’m a sucker for humor.) Gobbled up the next few chapters too, but about 1/2 way into the book my brain was exhausted. Don’t get me wrong- I’m still enjoying the book- but it feels like there’s no place to take a breath during it. I think the feeling of needing a break from the book is a combination of a few things:

~The 1st person POV. We’re in the same person’s head all the time. I’ve read other 1st person POV books before though, and not had this feeling of it being “too much” so it could just be that the POV character’s personality is very snarky. Hmmm. Something to investigate. I’ll definitely read other books by this author and see if that’s the case– that it was intentional as that is who the character is. Also while 1st person POV does feel intimate and really put a reader in the scene- I kinda miss the perspective of the Hero.

~I can’t believe I’m saying this…but there is almost too much humor…and not enough conflict. This was good for me to see, since it’s something I’ve worked very hard on in my own writing- dialing back the humor, adding emotional depth and upping the conflict. Finding the sweet spot of humor that doesn’t detract from the story is a tricky thing I think. When it’s done right, it makes for one of those reads that you never want to end, like for example, any book by Jenny Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

~Pacing/Unnecessary Scenes? This one I’m not sure about yet. It feels like 1 or 2 scenes don’t really move the story forward. They’re funny. Sometimes damn hilarious, but I’m wondering if that’s why this story feels like my mind needs a place to rest– just too much of the same thing?

On Reading: I’ve been focused for so long on writing, revising, and querying that reading for pleasure (aka not craft books) has been placed on the back burner. But this was a great lesson on why I need to make time to read other fiction. Because sometimes it’s easier to see things in someone else’s writing than it is to see it in my own writing because I’m too close to it. Reading other authors helps me stand back and see things better, both good and bad. That, and a good romance book is just damn fun.

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