Reading like a reader is a gift.
Before I started writing seriously, I always read like a reader. It is why I love fiction – its ability to immerse me in worlds and characters. Then as I studied the craft of fiction writing, the reading like a reader came to be harder. I wanted to know how other authors crafted their work. So I began to read like a writer or an editor. After finishing any book, I wrote a synopsis. Eventually I began to notice the craft far more than the story. It is one of the downsides of being a writer. Inevitable, I suppose.
But I also discovered that I missed the excitement and thrill of reading fiction. I still wanted to glory in the beauty of the rainbow, even though I knew the why behind it. I found myself watching more television. But the internal editor started to filter through to movies and television shows.
Then I had a conversation with my editor and how they were trained to read like readers first, and editors second. In order to understand how to edit, you had to understand the readers’ responses. It was a lightbulb moment. I could do this as well.
So once again, I tried to retrain. Rather than critiquing everything, I tried simply to experience. And yes, it was hard. But the enjoyment came back into my reading. Yes, I can see the craft and sometimes, you have to wonder why certain editors did not point out certain things. But I suspect people could say that about my books...
Recently, my daughter had to make her A level choices. In the English school system, at sixteen, students have to decide which four subjects they are going to take for the next two years. Then when they apply to university, they apply to study a specific subject and it can be very hard to change your major. Very different from the American system which I experienced. Anyway, she deciding against taking English because one of the major works studied is Pride and Prejudice which is one of her favourite novels. Her reasoning was that she wanted to keep loving the book, and she knew that studying it would mean that she would end up hating it. She is taking science instead. I am just pleased that my daughter knows the value of reading like a reader.
I am not doing a contest this month as I am off to Venice for a few days. BUT all next week, Barbara Vey who blogs on Publisher’s Weekly about romance is having a huge blow out party with giveaways from hundreds of romance authors. So you might want to check out her blog.