Novel Planning

Posted on May 5, 2010. Filed under: My Writing, Style, Uncategorized | Tags: |

Today is a good day to talk about novel planning, don’t you think? I think so.

Because I love writing and am addicted to NaNoWriMo’s forums, I’ve been reading a lot of people talking about saving ideas for the next National Novel Writing Month and working on planning them with vigor for months at a time. So I figured I’d take a poll.

Feel free to answer the following questions in a comment:

1. Have you written a novel? (If no, thanks for taking the poll, and get on that novel writing!)

2. When did you begin planning your novel?

3. How did you plan your novel?

4. Just for fun, how long did it take you to finish writing your novel?

And now I’ll tell you how I planned the novel that is begging to be edited for content and grammar.

I started planning Fire and Ice Bound in October 2009. Now I have to admit I got the idea for it about a year before that and had a few illustrations made by Desteni, who was kind enough to give me one that I tucked away for future use. When I began thinking about NaNo2009, I remembered my random fantasy story idea and dug out those illustrations from among the pile of bank statements, university papers, and other odds and ends.

The illustrations are really what reminded me how interested I was in the story. So I waited until October when I was beginning to gear up for NaNo to work on my planning. And then it came, and I had four glorious weeks of planning.

So what did I do? I spent hours thinking about who my characters were, where they lived, how they acted, and what they did. I devised big plots concerning entire countries and small subplots that would last only half a page but have important consequences. And throughout the planning process, I daily added notes to my master outline.

It’s kind of a lame term, but I call it that because it wasn’t so much an outline as the basis for everything I wrote in my story. Within this one 12-page document, I wrote down every name of every character, mentioned or not, that was important to my story. I grouped them according to where they fell (student, teacher, parent, electorate representative, townsperson, etc.) in my story. Then I wrote a number of pages of what I termed plot points: those things that needed to happen in order to move from Point A to Point B in the story.

What else did I put in my master outline? I put the obvious: the progression from beginning to end. Though I didn’t really have much of an ending when I first began planning. I also put some random things in. I wrote facts and figures about the three main countries. I detailed where the countries were located and what the governments were like. I wrote a page on the three different creation theories plugged by different groups as well as the different religions that had risen out of these theories. And none of the religions come into play in the actual story.

By the end of October, I’d started a character profiles document as well. I put in the names of every character, even the ones that weren’t referenced in the book, as well as their vital statistics. I recorded eye color, hair color, height, weight, age, and some other random information. Most of that wasn’t important in the actual book, but it makes all the difference to me in making my characters come alive. The character profile document was at least 5 pages long, so it was still a pretty hefty document.

I think the best thing I learned about planning my novel, though, came as I was writing it. Like most people participating in NaNo, I began writing at midnight on November 1. I wrote like a madwoman throughout the month, but as I referenced my notes I noticed two important things. First: my planning brought the story together in a way I never expected and allowed me to write freely without worrying too much about what would happen next. Second: planning doesn’t end when the writing begins.

Planning is an integral part of writing a novel for me. Knowing the steps to getting to the end of the novel was a huge part of my writing, but when I finally got around to writing the end of the novel, I realized I hadn’t planned for a few of the things that had managed to worm their way into the novel. So a few chapters out, I was planning once again, trying to figure out how best to end the story.

Personally I can definitely see the advantages of planning a story. What about you? Let me know and feel free to answer my questions as well. I’m kind of curious.

Next up should be a book review. Then I’m not sure what will come after that, but hopefully I’ll find something interesting. πŸ˜‰ Hope you’re all doing well, and I promise I’ll be getting my rhythm back soon!


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Finishing Chagrin

Posted on February 18, 2010. Filed under: Books, reading, Style | Tags: , , , , |

I never want to finish reading a good book; it’s always such a sad moment when I realize I have less than half the book left to read. It’s always worse when I realize I have only a few chapters, and then only a few pages to keep me entertained.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading the ending; it’s just that it always feels so final to finish a book, even if it’s within a series of books. Granted, that sometimes depends on the series. If it’s a fantasy series where the characters will all be gathered together again in some form or fashion, then it’s not always as bad. However, if it’s a series that was designed to focus on a pair or a particular group of characters at a time and then move on to the next set, there’s always a sense of parting from the characters in particular.

I find if it’s a book I’ve enjoyed that I have a tendency to slow down my reading towards the end. Even if it’s only by a small amount. And, of course, I feel silly doing this because at the same time I still want to finish the book. It’s always with a bit of chagrin that I put the book down after reading only a chapter instead of reading several chapters in one sitting.

Like all good things, every book has its end. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons we like them so well? Even a series has a conclusion at some point or another. (The only exception being if an author discontinues a series or dies in the process of writing it.) But the point still stands: there’s an ending.

Maybe it’s not the happily ever after of fairy tales or the long, extrapolated interpretation of the book’s theme and main message poured into a quick, witty paragraph. But if the main character dies, there’s not much left to look forward to. If the whole town is wiped out by the plague, who do you want to hear about after that? If the evil villain escapes to wreak havoc on another unsuspecting group of heroes, does it matter? Sure, sometimes, it does. But it’s an ending.

And there’s something of a death in finishing a book. Especially a good book. You’ve become great friends, learned a lot about one another in the process. You know you don’t like mysteries, but somehow you’ve been caught up in the mystery of this or that person’s affairs in an almost tangible way. You’ve learned that the characters dialogue in such twisted double entendres that you feel you’ve been lost a hundred times during the reading. And then when it’s over? It’s like a death.

You close the book and set it on the shelf, wishing your time wasn’t up. And perhaps you go back to it again and again for a reminder of the characters you loved.

I love getting to the end of a good book. It’s an opportunity to reflect on how well an author has written and what aspects worked and didn’t work in my mind. It lets me savor the journey to that point, and it gives me a chance to decide whether I’ll be putting it on the shelf for good or taking it back down over and over again.

But still, as I’m coming to the end of this particular book, I’m feeling that finishing chagrin. Only two, possibly three chapters to go, and yet I read slower than ever. In my head, those are, of course, the signs of a good book.

What are your signs? Do you move faster or slower at the end of a good book? Inquiring minds want to know. πŸ˜€


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How Things Change!

Posted on February 16, 2010. Filed under: Books, Historical Fiction, reading | Tags: , , , , , |

This morning I decided to be creative after finding a new recipe to try in my mother’s cast iron skillet cookbook. It was a breakfast recipe for a Savory Dutch Baby, something I’ve never heard of before. There are some variations of said recipe here if anyone is interested in trying them. It was good, but I’m pretty sure if I do it again I’ll make sure to add some different seasonings; my version (following the cookbook recipe) called for grated cheese and cubed ham, but I can imagine some more savory versions. It’s just a matter of being creative. Despite that, I was pleased with the results!

And, of course, I wanted to share that with the rest of you because it makes me happy.

Now onto more interesting turns of expression. One of my favorite aspects of historical fiction is something that was quite aptly penned today by the excellent Lauren Willig. I won’t go into too many details since I have a habit of talking about her; however, it reminded me of a number of historical fiction novels I’ve read and how enlightening they can be.

If you’re anything like me, seeing how things have changed over the years is somewhat irresistible.

For example, what I focused on this morning was just the picture of modesty as presented in Willig’s The Seduction of the Crimson Rose. Perhaps I should add that I looked at modesty both in terms of appearance and in terms of personality. It’s quite a fascinating study if you ask me.

Just consider this: women in the past were quite unafraid to bare their faces but shied violently away from allowing their skirts to be lifted past their ankles. Compare that to the ultra mini-skirts of today, and it’s a rather striking contrast. What I find surprisingly intriguing is that it wasn’t considered just a matter of appearance but a manner of behavior.

To be found alone with a man was pure ruin in the Victorian era. A woman made every effort not to allow herself to get caught by any rapacious rakes daring enough to try to entice her Β onto a balcony at one of the ton gatherings that took place. It wasn’t because she lacked the courage to step into such an assignation; it was more because she was concerned for her reputation.

Today reputations are barely marred by the news of a celebrity having an affair or a wardrobe malfunction resulting in partial nudity.

Is it just, as many have suggested, that we have matured and understood that these old-fashioned proprieties are no longer suitable for such an age as ours?

The fashion of the 1900s

I have to wonder about that sometimes. To me, there’s something incredibly seductive about the descriptions of gallant men in waistcoats waiting upon their equally charming ladies in their bustled dresses and whalebone corsets. The propriety of appearances being observed kept a certain order that was maintained even under the most absurd of circumstances, but this order played out in a different way than what you might expect.

Instead of limiting women by keeping them confined in tight-fitting layers of cloth, it gave them an allure that was more powerful. To have men wondering at the glimpses of skin beneath the surface made a woman that much more intriguing.

Just by reading this, I’m sure you can tell I’m not much of a feminist. I’d make most of the hardcore ones shake their heads in despair at my romantic notions of such antiquated mores, and I’m sure I’d be a prime candidate for a number of lectures concerning the liberties stolen from women by their male counterparts. Call me what you will, but there’s something undeniably fascinating about a world where things are hidden, masked, obscured.

To bare all is to remove the mystery, and that, I think, is something we’ve lost. Our modesty is simply following those lovely, droll rules about wearing shirts and shoes into restaurants, or maintaining the dress code set up by a society bent on finding the most creative ways to bend the rules. (They’re just guidelines anyway, right?)

So I may be alone in saying this, but I somehow doubt it. There’s simply something curious about a person who goes against the low neckline, cheek-baring skirt-wearing norms. It creates an enigma because you don’t know what lies beneath. Combine that with an equally alluring and mysterious personality, and you’ve got the makings of an adventure–all wrapped up in the prettily-wrapped package of someone different.

I’m sure my opinions being what they are aren’t being adequately explained, but it’s certainly something I’ve read about. I’ll break out the non-fiction tomorrow. I simply wanted to get in a post about the changes I’ve seen today.

Thoughts? Comments? Snide remarks? Want to send me to a feminist retreat? Let me know.


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Slow Post-er

Posted on February 15, 2010. Filed under: Books, Editing, reading, Science Fiction | Tags: , , , , |

This has been a rather lazy day. It’s now a little before 7:30, and I’m just getting around to posting for the day. On a side note, anyone who can tell me how to get the blasted time stamp feature changed on my WordPress account would be very helpful as it’s now saying I’m saving the draft at 12:23 a.m.

Even so, I don’t have a lot to say today. I’ve been reading all Lauren Willig all the time, but I’m considering a slight change of pace after I finish reading the current novel.

After thinking about it, I’ve realized I should probably prepare myself for the first round of editing before I get into it. So I’m going to pick up some of the books on my list that rank closer to the world of fantasy.

Next on my list to be read? I’ll be finishing off Kathy Tyers’s Firebird trilogy. It’s sci-fi, but the technical aspects of it will be helpful because I seriously need to bone up on my technology descriptions.

I’ve read Firebird and started reading Fusion Fire several months ago. For what it’s worth, this series has held my interest in a way few sci-fi series do. And I’ll be honest, I couldn’t stand C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy, consisting of Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.

I tried to read the series, but it was just too foreign to me. Perhaps I was too young; I think I first started reading it in middle school. Either way, the sci-fi did not work for me. And I’m a Lewis fan through and through.

With that said, I like Tyers’s world. It’s an odd combination of sci-fi and fantasy because the two genres can easily be said to be intertwined. I don’t care as much about the science of her world because I’m not scientifically minded. If it didn’t make sense, or, as my dad says, if the physics didn’t add up, I most likely wouldn’t notice. But I’m perfectly at ease examining her development of characters and gradual drawing of relationships. The plot helps, too, of course.

However, I’m pretty sure I’m going to make this series the last I read in the sci-fi genre. Why? The science bores me. If I have to read about how spaceships fly or the genetic qualities of a particular space gem necessary for survival on four-fifths of a galaxy’s planets, I’m going to fall asleep.

Yes, sci-fi can be well done. Yes, I’m sure it’s very interesting once you bypass all the nitty-gritty details. I’ll be perfectly happy to allow everyone’s opinions, but for myself, the next time I pick up a sci-fi book, I’d find it just as enjoyable to skip over the monotonous details and simply read for the plot.

Ah well, I suppose I’m not cut out for sci-fi. It is rather specialized. Or niche-oriented. Take your pick. Either way, I do recommend the series by Kathy Tyers. It’s lovely so far, and eventually I’ll finish it and write a review on it. (Then I’ll give the borrowed books back to Desteni.)

What is everyone else planning to read next?


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Ah, the Rereads

Posted on February 11, 2010. Filed under: Books, Historical Fiction, reading, Romance | Tags: , , , , |

I honestly don’t have much of a post today. I’ve been rereading one of Lauren Willig’s books in preparation for the newest one I purchased, and it’s been very pleasant going.

I tend to forget how she melds witty banter with excellent faculties of language to create these incredibly intense scenes with just one conversation. Generally I prefer to stay away from writing lots of conversation because I simply can’t find ways to justify it, especially since I’m not the best at it. But Willig has such an artful approach to it that I can’t help but be delighted.

I’m currently rereading the third in her series. The Deception of the Emerald Ring is full of light conversations with the excellent undertone of mischief, danger, intrigue, and illicit activities. It’s right up my alley.

In Emerald Ring, we get a closer glance at one of my favorite heroes: Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe, whose last name is certainly a mouthful. Geoff is quite snippy, especially towards his recent acquisition, our heroine, Letty Alsworthy, the new bride to the heir of the Pinchingdale name and fortune.

Granted, it wasn’t her fault at all. Not one little bit. All she wanted was to prevent Geoff from ruining her older sister by eloping with her.

You can imagine how well that goes.

In short, the book follows Geoff after his impromptu wedding on an adventure to Ireland under the orders of the London War Office, but our dear spy simply cannot be bothered informing his most unwanted bride of this small detail. And that, of course, is where Letty comes in, deciding to follow dear Geoff to Ireland instead of wasting away in his cold, empty home and avoiding the ton as they gossip about her grabby attempts to usurp her sister’s position as rightful bride.

Bring on the witty banter.

Yep, so that’s what I’m rereading now. I’ve caught myself, several times now, cracking up in the middle of a reading due to the prose, and I simply adore the characters Willig has created. I’ll admit, I’m hooked.

What books are you rereading? And what books do you put on your reread list? I have strict categories of rereads, which I’ll probably talk about at some point or another. For today, I’m just enjoying the story.


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Book Formulas

Posted on February 9, 2010. Filed under: Books, Fantasy, reading, Romance, Style | Tags: , , , |

Today I thought I’d talk a little bit about book formulas. It seems that different genres have these formulaic ways in which authors write their stories. And in most instances, if you’re an avid reader (or even if you aren’t), you’ll pick up right away on the formula.

For example: let’s take a typical romance.

Fairly normal female protagonist + handsome and charming male + male’s seduction and intrigue + sudden betrayal of trust + hot make-up sex = A romance that sells.

Okay, so that might not be the complete formula, but it’s pretty basic. Authors generally add and adapt these formulas to suit their whims and make sure all the bases are covered. In my opinion, it feels a little bit too structured.

However, I can’t deny that these books sell by the thousands. Even the shoddy ones that come from new romance authors who are literally following the template set up by thousands of their predecessors. I also can’t deny that I’ve purchased some in my day.

The same can be said for almost any genre you can think up. Fantasy has what feels like a different formula for each sub-genre of the main. But all the formulas seem to stem directly from the classic “high” or “epic” fantasy.

Pick a genre, any genre, and you’ll see similar themes. These things sell and sell well for publishers. And readers are eager to lap it up in most cases. (I’d say almost especially so for the romances.)

My book, too, uses the basic formula for fantasy. It’s something that’s difficult to get away from. And if you try something different, you’re most likely going to find it difficult to get published because agents and publishers are looking for things that will market well.

So I find it odd that I enjoy and sincerely appreciate some of these formulas (i.e. fantasy) and not others (i.e. romances). What’s strange is that I like both fantasy and romance, but I quickly find the norms in romances becoming tedious. The more I read them, the more predictable they become, and the more difficult it gets not to just flip to the end and decide that, yes, I knew this would happen from the beginning.

Do you find yourself doing something like that with a genre you really love? I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I honestly don’t get as excited with some of my romance fiction as I used to because the genre never changes. I may just be choosing my books without care, I’m not sure. Either way, I’m not as appreciative of it as I used to be.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear them. πŸ™‚


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Book Research – How Thorough Should An Author Be?

Posted on February 8, 2010. Filed under: Books, reading, Romance, Style | Tags: , , , , , , |

I’ve been reading a book on my book list lately, and while I already know the ending (end reader thing again), I haven’t finished it. So I’m not going to post a full review or anything resembling that here. However, I am going to talk a little about the book in the context of research.

Authors of almost any genre have to research things for their books under most circumstances. I’m doing it, and I know a lot of other authors who are doing the same things. Unless you’re an absolute expert, there are always things to be researched.

So my question today is this: How thorough should the author be in researching topics for novels?

The reason I ask is because of the book I’m reading. It’s called Everyone Worth Knowing and is written by Lauren Weisberger. If you haven’t heard of her or her book, perhaps you’ll know her from another of her more popular novels: The Devil Wears Prada.

In Everyone Worth Knowing, Weisberger writes about life for Bette Robinson, a small town New Yorker who quits her job as a banker in New York City because it’s become tedious. She ends up working in public relations as an event planner for some of the biggest names out there.

It’s obvious to me that Weisberger’s done a lot of research for her story. She drops names left and right: Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, and Hugh Heffner to name a few. She knows her designers and labels, and she mixes it up with the clubs, restaurants, and companies of only the best areas of NYC.

I’m a fan of people who take the time to research things well, but I noticed something in Weisberger’s novel that irks me just a bit. I’ll admit it’s nothing big and probably not something most people would notice. In fact, there’s a possibility it’s done for effect more than anything else.

Despite all that, I read it and was a little disappointed. I’ll quote it here for you.

“I’m getting a coffee, and then we can figure out the event details. Can I get you something?”

I shook my head and pointed to my coffee cup.

“No grande sugar-free vanilla extra-hot no-whip skim latte?”

This is from page 153 of my copy of the book, and I read it again last night. In fact, I read it twice.

The scene takes place inside your favorite and mine: Starbucks. And our heroine, Bette, is talking with bouncer Sammy. Aside from the fact that I feel his little comment deserves a few extra commas, I have to give Weisberger some credit.

I used to work as a Starbucks barista, and one of the things you learn rather early on is how to call an order. If you’ve ever sat down and looked at the boxes on the sides of the cups, you’ll notice there’s a certain order to them. The trick to properly reading them is starting from the top and working your way down. So, for example, when I order one of my favorites, I ask for a “grande three-pump-vanilla, breve, extra caramel, caramel macchiato.”

Weisberger gets props in my book for knowing the lingo and structure of an order. However, she does something that bugs me just a bit. I won’t harp on it for long, so bear with me.

It’s the “no-whip” part of this quote that gets me. I’m a perfectionist, and this might be a stylistic thing, but lattes do not get whipped cream. Period. Sure, you can order them with whipped cream, but they are not normally made that way. The trick to making a latte is to steam the milk and create a bit of foam at the top. When you’ve finished pouring the milk into the cup, you scoop a bit of whip out of the pitcher with your spoon and place a dollop on top.

That’s a latte.

Ordering it with no-whip is redundant.

Ah well, I’m not here to really argue the point. I’m really just curious how much everyone else thinks an author should research for a book. And let me point out that I’m not claiming Weisberger didn’t research enough. Just, in general, I would be interested in how much authors put into their research and how much their readers think the authors should know.

Thoughts? Comments? Snide remarks? Let me know!


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The Favorites Post

Posted on February 5, 2010. Filed under: Books, Classics, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, reading, Romance, Suspense/Thriller, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

So I’m a bit later to post today. In fact, it’s the latest I’ve posted since I started NaBloPoMo, but I think that’s okay. On a more personal note, I actually had a friend, Desteni, over today for a breakfast that extended to 2 p.m. (See the “Adventuring Solo” link on my blogroll for more info about Desteni.) To celebrate my actual social tendencies, let’s take a look at our favorites today!

Yes, this is a cop-out post because I’m struggling with blogging about anything writing or reading related; however, it does fit the theme. With no further ado, I’ll tell you a little about my favorites.

"The Scarlet Pimpernel" by Baroness Orczy

Favorite Book: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

Wow, what a concept! I actually have a classic as my favorite? Yes, that’s right. I love the swashbuckling tale of the ever elusive, ever daft Sir Percy Blakeney and his dear, sweet wife. The Baroness’s tale became my favorite in middle school when my English teacher showed us the 1934 version of the movie. I read the book for the first time in high school and was in love.

Favorite Author: Baroness Orczy

I am on a mission to eventually read all the novels within the Pimpernel series to be quite honest. I have only found the first in print at bookstores, but will be on the lookout for others in the future. The Baroness has a true fan in me!

Favorite Genre: Too close to call

I’m eclectic, a word most people (me included) use to describe their music tastes. However, I refer to genres. I’ll read historical fiction, romances, fantasy, general, classical, and a few others. Right now it’s a toss-up between fantasy and romances.

Favorite POV: Third person omniscient

I’ll admit I’m not a fan of first person unless it’s done incredibly well. Third person is my standard, and if it’s omniscient, it’s even better. I like getting an overview of all the pertinent players instead of sticking in one person’s head.

Within the genres–

"The Hawk and the Jewel" by Lori Wick

Favorite Romance: Toss-up between The Hawk and the Jewel, The Princess, and Donovan’s Daughter all by Lori Wick

Honestly, I love a ton of romances. But these three represent three very different things to me. The Hawk and the Jewel represents my adoration for historical British fiction. The Princess represents my introduction to the romance genre. And Donovan’s Daughter represents all the good things I love in romance.

And, yes, these are all Christian romances. Perhaps I should add a Christian subcategory, but I don’t want to go into that much depth!

"The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis

Favorite Fantasy: Toss-up between Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Anyone else seeing the pattern here? I don’t know about you, but I’m curious. Why do all these authors only use their first initials? Is that the mark of a good fantasy author? (If so, I’m in trouble!)

That’s beside the point. Lewis introduced me to the world of fantasy as a child. Tolkien made the fantasy come to life. And Rowling reminded me of what it is to feel childlike faith in a fantasy again. I think they offer a good mix.

"The Secret History of the Pink Carnation" by Lauren Willig

Favorite Historical Fiction: Any of the books in Lauren Willig’s series

I won’t rant and rave here. Honest. I’ll just point out that Lauren Willig not only revived my faith in authors trying to channel the classics but she also channeled the one classic I adore: The Scarlet Pimpernel. Willig’s series of bumbling, dangerous, deadly, and humorous French Revolution spy novels is lovingly coupled with the young woman who sets out in modern times to discover their secret identities.

Plainly put, I love this series of books, and I plan to write about them in due time. I just have to do them justice, which will not happen today!

Favorite Classic: Outside of The Scarlet Pimpernel, I am a Jane Austen fan.

Simply put, Austen’s classics do not bore me to tears, make me want to burn the books, fill me with despair, or leave a bad taste in my mouth. Instead, they make me smile with amusement at the antiquated wit and whimsy she writes into her tales, and I find myself feeling light and cozy. It’s the perfect pairing for a rainy day (like today).

"House" by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti

Favorite Suspense/Thriller: Three by Ted Dekker and House by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti

Ted Dekker knows the art of suspense. His books are chock full of it. He weaves the art of storytelling with the art of suspense-writing and creates vivid worlds where the best response I can give is to turn the next page until I’ve reached the end. Combine Dekker’s suspense with Frank Peretti’s art of addressing the supernatural, and you get chill-inducing fiction which thrills and frightens.

In conclusion…

I do believe that is quite enough of my favorites for today. I’m planning a later post with my least favorites (which will hopefully gain a more entertaining title by then), but I want to hold off on that for a while. So we’ll see how that goes.

Feel free to let me know what your favorites are! I’d love to hear about new authors that I can check out and books that you enjoy. (Come to think of it, I’ll have to make another post on my nonfiction favorites as well.) And if you have any comments about my favorites, I’d like to hear it.


P.S. In case you’re curious but don’t want to spend money, you can read the e-book version of The Scarlet Pimpernel here.

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How do you read books?

Posted on February 3, 2010. Filed under: Books, reading, Style | Tags: , , , , |

Instead of talking about Twilight and all the ways ‘Twihards’ are making me angry, I thought I’d try a new tack. So today let’s talk books. Specifically let’s talk how we read.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Most people pick books up, start at the beginning and read through to the end.

I don’t.

Let’s just say that I’m an end-reader. It’s not on purpose, either. As a matter of course, I know some people will pick books out in the bookstores or libraries, read the back cover, and then flip through to the end to see what the ending is. My great-granny was one of those, and I blame her for my peculiarities.

See, my problem isn’t that I want to know the ending before I read the rest of the book. It’s just that I have relatively little self-discipline when it comes to books. I’m afraid I’m way past the days when I could stay up all night reading without feeling ashamed of the lapse the next morning, but at the same time, I get so excited about reading that I just have to know what comes next!

So what do I do? Many times I’ll tell myself I’m stopping at the end of this one chapter and headed to bed or off to work or whatever task awaits me. When I get to the end of said chapter, I find myself torn, unable to resist the pull to see what’s coming up next. I flip just a few pages, ignoring the beginnings of the next chapter, and look ahead to the next scenes.

The next thing I know two hours have passed and I now know how the book ends because I’ve managed to read all the way (sparingly–meaning without reading every word) to the end.

Some people (my mother included) find this practice abhorrent. But, ironically, it doesn’t leave me wanting to stop reading. In fact, it makes it a little bit easier to go back and really read the book. I pick up on little details I normally wouldn’t have and find myself just as enthralled as if I never read the ending in the first place.

And apparently this little quirk of mine is no respecter of genres because I do it to all books. (This is why, unfortunately, I know the endings to a number of books on my current to-read list, actually. Shh! Don’t tell anyone!)

Is anyone else plagued in this way? I can’t imagine I’m the only one out there who does this. I’d honestly like to quit, but it’s become almost a habit. I can read a good book for a couple of days and not flip ahead, but eventually it becomes too much to bear, and my hands start moving before I really realize what I’m doing.

So with that said, does anyone have any tips and tricks on quitting? I’d love to hear them! And while we’re at it, how do you read books? Any quirks like mine out there? Feel free to comment and let me know!


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