Close Reading

Recently, I read a book for fun. A very long book. I had a hard time getting into it because nothing happened for the first 15 chapters/144 pages. When something finally did happen, it happened to a secondary POV character, not the protagonist. The protagonist was still just wandering around eating leisurely lunches and being bored.

Side note: Your MC may be bored; your readers should not.

For awhile, all I saw were the mistakes in this book. I thought, “Why didn’t someone take the time to polish this a little, to clean it up enough for it to be a good book?” I was tempted to look down on the author as inexperienced (in spite of the fact that he is published and I am not–have I ever mentioned that I can be prideful? 😉 ).

But then, I began to notice little things that the author did well. And then more things and more. The author crafted a complete world; he moved his characters through developmental phases; he used description that paints vivid pictures. He let the reader glimpse the inner workings of a character through a few short phrases.

Yes, I have been to creative writing school; I have a degree. But as yet, I am unpublished. I need to remind myself that training is not everything. Experience counts. Also, when reading a book, I need to look at the things done well in addition to the things which could have been done better. Both will teach me how to improve my own writing.

1 Comments on “Close Reading”

  1. I agree that experience matters a lot with writing, but you can usually tell who has had some training when you read their work! I also struggle with the fact that what I deem 'good writing' is not in fashion right now… Glad you had fun with the writers group!

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