I don’t read books the same way. Sometimes I feel like a thief or a spy, pouring over my favorite authors books trying to understand their techniques and figure out why their books are so damn hard to put down.
And I have learned. A lot actually. How to build sexual tension. How to write sharp dialogue. How to torture my hero and heroine to the point where they want to pull their hair out. But now that I know some stuff I don’t read the same way. It seems like I have lost the ability to purely read for fun.
Has that ever happened to you? I just finished reading a book by one of my favorite authors. It was a book I had waited MONTHS for, part of a series that I had been with since the beginning. But this book, the fifth, wasn’t all I had hoped it to be. Yes, the writing was so rich I felt like I as transported to the eighteen hundreds and living in a dilapidated castle in Scotland. Yes, there were points when I was unable to put the book down because I desperately NEEDED to know what was going to happen next. But when I did put the book down I felt kind of blah about it. It wasn’t a great book. It wasn’t a bad book but it was missing something for me.
Before I started writing I wouldn’t have had any idea what that was, but I know now. It was missing conflict. In a romance conflict between a hero and heroine is imperative. But in this book there simply was none. They loved each other since childhood. They married unexpectedly. They had no problems with each other. What little conflict there was came from their relationships with other people. There was never any doubt that they wouldn’t have their HEA. It was a little frustrating because I could see that there were so many chances to throw some flying monkeys at them, as Casey Wyatt would say. There should have been times when they were miserable but there were none. It disappointed me a bit. But then, because I’m a writer I realize how hard it is to get to the end sometimes, to make the story flow the way you want it to. I know there are time when you want to chuck your computer out of the window and forget it all. Being a writer is hard. So I’m cutting her some slack and waiting impatiently until her next book comes out.
So what about you? Can you read the same way now that you’re a writer? Can you pick out exactly what it is about a book that lets you down? Let me know!