A Public Service Announcement: Just Say No…

JUST SAY NO…To shiny, new ideas trying to distract you from your current WIP. This has been a Public Service Announcement to all writers needing to finish the darn book. 

On Writing: I feel like I’ve been bombarded from all sides lately with ideas and inspiration for new writing projects. The crazy stories one person tells me from working at a hospital to another person’s TMI-version of their life story. Some of these stories are waaaaay more than I want to know, but the writer in me wishes I could pull out a notebook and take notes even while I’m inwardly cringing listening as a person spills their personal details. Yeah, we writers are twisted like that. But, the whole point of this is to say how hard it is sometimes to stay focused on a project that IS NOT COOPERATING.

  “Come over here,” the shiny new idea whispers in my ear. Just a soft, airy poof of an idea, yet it distracts. “Seriously, I’m sexier that your WIP. And I’m easy. I’ll practically write myself. My plot will stretch out before you like the Yellow Brick Road, baby.”

Ha! I’m not falling for it. I will stay focused and continue to revise aka twist, contort, slash and burn my current WIP until it I’ve got a story I’m proud of and a HEA that makes me smile.

On Reading: I just read 1/2 of a popular book. Because I only read half, I don’t feel it would be fair to name the book. I loved the writing. The author is amazingly talented. Sometimes even brilliant. But, it’s not my kind of book. It’s very dark and really has no characters worth redeeming. I HATED the ending, and I’m not alone in that. I’m usually one of those people who will read a book through to the end, even if I don’t love it. I couldn’t do that with this book. I read the first few chapters and ended up skipping to the last 1/3 of the book. It was as bleak, angsty, dark and depressing as I was afraid it was going to be from the beginning. No HEA for this book, not that anyone would expect one, but the author could have had it end with one of the two main characters learning something and having a chance at redemption in the future. Nope. That didn’t happen. And, I should point out, many people are totally fine about that. This book received lots and lots of rave reviews. But, I prefer a HEA and if not that, then at least I like good to triumph over evil in some small way. This didn’t happen either. My daughter, who recommended the book to me, tells me I must go back and read the whole thing. Apparently, there are some amazingly brilliant 180 degree plot twists in the book. I haven’t decided if I’m up for delving back into this book’s twisted, dark world.

While reading, this book reminded me very much of the book The Talented Mr. Ripely by Patricia Highsmith. Another excellent book where the bad guy (aka sociopath) seems to win. But for some reason, I really enjoyed the Highsmith book. Hmm, maybe I will have to read this other book all the way through, then reread Ripely and figure out why I loved one but hated the other. It might provide a good writing lesson. Something to think about.

What do you do when you read a book you don’t enjoy? Do you keep reading hoping it will get better? Or abandon it? Do you feel guilty when you don’t enjoy a well-written very popular book? Or just write it off as not to your taste?