Monday, November 28, 2011

Not A Book Review

I've managed to start reading a book I don't think I'll like, chosen by my husband. Amazing as he may be, he and I don't always agree on what we like to read. The plus of our differences is now I have his library to plunder in order to expand my reading experience.

Because many of the books I may choose to read are well known, I've decided I won't be announcing what book I'm reading until I'm done, if then. I'm trying to avoid the pleas for and against the books while I'm working through them, and the "You don't like that book? What is wrong with you?!" or "Do Not Read That Book!" comments. It will probably take me a while to get through each one. Because of this, I really don't want to be influenced by people who have read them. Of course, since I'll be blogging about them I may give away enough hints someone might guess, anyway, but I will not be confirming or denying.

Down to the book. I've read the first 23 pages - all prologue and all in first person (first big hint). Can I say, I hate first person in a novel. Having skimmed a few pages, I know the whole thing is in first person. Remember those 23 pages? It probably took me hours to get through them just because of the tense. It honestly gives me a headache. I believe first person should be saved for emails, letters, dialogue and a few other exceptions. A whole novel written in first person frankly turns me off.

I will read it through, though. Other than this experiment, I've been promising my husband I would read the book. He swears I'll love it. When I talk to him about things like 'first person' and the way it leads the author to write more telling sentences than showing sentences, he wrinkles his brow as if trying to remember the book - or because he just doesn't get what I mean. I tried to explain the difference between telling and showing to him. I don't think I did a very good job since his brow remained creased.

So, as I continue reading I will include a list of what I like and don't like about the book (also a chance for more spoilers if you know the work). My goal is to orient this list around writing techniques, as the point of reading a book I don't like is to study these techniques and apply them (or make sure I don't apply them) to my own work. So far, there are only two for each list, but I have only read 23 pages.


Fast paced - the short sections (3-6 pages in each section of the prologue) help move you along and make it easier to be able to read bits at a time as I have a few free minutes here and there. This is much different from my last draft as I was writing for word count with goals of 4000 words per chapter. I can definitely appreciate the difference.

The story appears well thought out - though Prologues may be written at the end of the writing process or changed many times, it's clear there is a strong plot and many factions that will make up the conflicts in the story.


First person perspective - See comments above. As I read more, I'm hoping to become more accustomed to it, but I do not expect this dislike to change.

Lots of 'telling' rather than 'showing' - Particularly in paragraphs with tell after tell after tell sentence, it's almost like I'm reading a list. It actually frustrates me a bit and I find myself reading it over again to figure out how to show it instead (not a bad exercise, by the way).

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