Good morning Blogies
Can you still do it? Can you read for the fun of it? With all the rules and tips and pet peeves floating around in your head, can you still just pick up a book and get lost in the pages?
It’s one of the hazards of writing, I’m afraid. I should have known that. Before I started writing I was involved in theater as an actor, director, stage manager, stage hand, set builder, you name it and I did it. Well, except anything to do with music, no talent there. Anyway, the more I learned, the more critical I became as an audience member. I was ruined as a patron of the theater. Even when everything was great, I still analyzed why rather than let the cast take me to a place and show me a story. The wonder, the experience, the thrill; all gone. Crap!!
Then, along came writing. I went to conferences and workshops. I joined a critique group. I read books and articles and blogs and forum posts and I analyzed books I should’ve been reading for enjoyment. Double crap!! I tell you right now, I vow never to pick up a book on deviant sexual behavior. You know, just in case I ever...I want it to be fun. Well, enough said.
So, back to reading. I found myself critiquing the works of, published authors. I’d try to figure out why the author did this or inserted that? What was the authors intent? Is there some hidden meaning? I puzzled out motivation; oh, so-and-so works at the shelter because he wasn’t allow a puppy as a child. Looked for tell-tales; and he’s going to kill the neighbor for kicking his dog. Anticipated plot twists; then he and the widow will fall in love. Agonized over internal and external goals; he wants to open his own non-profit shelter for abused dogs but really he just wants to be loved. Ditto for internal and external conflict; Oh, no, the police found his footprint in the neighbor’s garden. But worse, he doesn’t feel he deserves the widow’s love because he killed her husband.
#@(& it! Reading wasn’t any fun. So I quit. Reading, not writing. Can’t quit writing. What reason would I give for banging my head against the wall? I probably didn’t read fiction for more than a year. I’d like to say I was in a dark and brooding place, but I wasn’t. I just had no interest in reading a novel. I read my crit partners’ stuff because that’s what crit partners do and you are supposed to analyze that stuff. I read Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, Ripley’s Believe it or Not and that sort of thing for distraction. But I read no books.
Things were going along fine until my wife wanted to get a Kindle. Somehow, I ended up with one too. So I read. And I put it down. And I picked it up. Put it down. Picked it up. So on and so forth until I got lost in a story.
Ha, this is fun. I read another, and focused on the characters, listened to the characters and it was fun again. I’d discovered the secret.
Just read the damn book. The characters may have motivation, goals, blah, blah, blah, but the author didn’t put them there, didn’t decide anything. In fact, there is no author. The story just appeared out of the ether. The characters are the story. It’s the characters telling the story and they don’t know squat about writing. Remember that when you read. Remember that when you write. And, have fun when you do both. And that other thing too, deviant or not.
Simple, huh? So, can you still read for fun?