Tuesday, 19 June 2007
When Writers Read as Writers
I used to read for pleasure -- voraciously, in fact. I'd grab whatever was on the shelf -- romance, science fiction, fantasy, mystery -- and be satisfied with whatever I scarfed down. I even raided my kids' shelves and re-read all the YA they had.
Now, I have six books sitting on my end table, each partly read. For some reason, I can't get into any of them. I keep finding little nuances like passive voice, head-hopping, info dumping, dragging plots. I'm reading like a writer, and it's bugging me. I want to read purely for enjoyment, but I can't. It seems to require almost as much concentration as writing.
Mind you, in the last few months I have managed to read a few lovely novels that held my attention to the end. I was drawn into the story and forgot all about looking for those little Cardinal Writing Sins.
Why am I having such difficulty? Is it lack of spare time? Is it the fact that I'm at that magic spot between publishing one book and trying to find a home for the next one? Do I feel obliged to pick apart every book I read in order to improve my own craft, or to research genres to see where I fit in?
Summer is upon us. I gotta relax and just read, darn it.