So I headed into this holiday weekend with enthusiasm and a long list of things to do, the least of which was work on my current work in progress. Unfortunately on Saturday afternoon my throat started to feel scratchy and I woke up Sunday morning with some kind of cold/viral thingy. So this weekend was not about accomplishing my list, but about resting and reading which was about as much as I could handle.
It’s always amazing to me how reading helps when you need a boost, whether it be mental, physical or emotional. It allows me to escape and recuperate from the daily ‘stuff’ we all deal with. What is interesting to me now that I am a writer is that I pick up on things in books that I would have not noticed in the past. Effectively in some respects I have ‘ruined myself’ as a reader. I can still get lost in the story, but it means that the story is REALLY good. This weekend I downloaded a box set (a group of books) which is a great way to find new authors to read. This set has five books in it.
The first story was good and I liked the premise and the hero and heroine (and I would buy others books by this author). Then I went on to the second story which irritated my (or I should say the heroine irritated me). I couldn’t make it through the third story, stopping after the first couple of pages. The fourth story was okay, but nothing to write home about. And I didn’t have time to read the fifth story. Not the best of odds, huh? Does this frustrate me? Not as much as you would think. Sometime reading stories with issues in it teaches me how to make my stories stronger. In other words learn from the mistakes. Now as I write this I don’t want you to think that I am the next Pulitzer Prize winning novelist. I am DEFINITELY not in that category. But like everyone else I learn as I write and my stories grow richer and (hopefully) better.
So as I read I look for what makes a story REALLY GOOD or what makes a story NEED WORK (in my very humble opinion). Writing is hard work and like other art forms needs to be studied and studied often for the artist to improve..