Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ignorance is bliss

There's two pieces of advice almost universally given to new writers.

1. Write. A lot.

2. Read. A lot.

Okay, I get rule #1. And I do write a lot. Heck. I'm doing it right now. And rule #2 is plenty fun. Except...when it tortures me.

The one thing I didn't anticipate with writing all the time was how much it would change my perception while I read. It's harder for me to get lost in a book. It's like the Matrix. I started to learn the craft of writing, and whether I liked it or not, I had swallowed the Red Pill.

I appreciate it so much when the world is constructed seamlessly, when the dialogue flows without effort, when the plot is amazing without being heavy handed. And all the while I'm realizing this, I'm not inside the story in the same way I used to be.

Sometimes I really wish I could take that Blue Pill. At least, temporarily.

When I do pick up a book and get completely lost in the story, I sigh. Because part of me appreciates the craft of what I just read, and part of me is so freakin' jealous.

10 comments:

Deb Salisbury said...

Yes. I entirely agree! It's not nearly as much fun reading as it used to be, and I'm a LOT pickier.

Sandy Shin said...

Truer words have never been spoken! (or, they have, but not as well :))

Before I decided to make writing a dream, I enjoyed reading a lot more. Now, while I've come to appreciate good writing and craft more, I can't help but feel jealous and/or critical of all novels I read. It's difficult to just get lost in the story.

lbdiamond said...

Man, is this true. I just got a book from Amazon from one of my all-time favorite writers. The book was a complete dud. All the things I tried to eliminate from my writing to clean it up was there. I didn't get past page 30. Sigh.

Zoe C. Courtman said...

So. Freakin. True. Do you notice it happening with movies and television, too? How you can spot a plot twist a mile away now, and find that you're paying attention to character development, narrative arc, etc? Nice to know I'm not the only one!

Lydia Kang said...

I'm in the middle of reading Hunger Games and it's taking me away. God she's good!

Tahereh said...

omg lydia i know exactly what you mean. but my problem is that now i have such a hard time finding books i LIKE. i'm analyzing everything as i read it, and it makes me nuts. i can't stand half the writing i read in published books anymore. i miss the days when i was just happy to read something with a decent story line. hunger games was the first series to really come along and breathe a sigh of relief and enjoyment. she really *is* good.

thanks for this!

jbchicoine said...

I face the same thing when reading now, as a writer. I'm so distracted with 'how can this writer get away with that!?' or 'Oh, my gosh, my writing stinks compared to this...'
oh for the good old days of just getting lost in it...

Lydia Kang said...

I know--I just returned a book recently because I couldn't get through the first chapter!

cipherqueen said...

I'm stuck on the read part...

Oh, and I finished your award! ;D come collect it at www.cipherqueen.blogspot.com

Dara said...

Agree! I compare myself all too often to things I read and think "how can I even come close to this"? I guess that's why we still have to keep trying!