Writing Ruins Reading

Are you telling me the teenage empath can’t tell how the other teenager feels about her? Um, no. The boy’s entire family blows up and he shows no emotion. The perspective is first person, right? When does this story actually begin? Oh, here’s the beginning…on page 182.

I am an avid reader. I taught myself to read when I was four and have consistently had a book in my hand ever sense. Two books, if I’m almost done with the current read. As an adult, I read three books at once in different genres to keep my mind engaged.

That’s it, end of post. I LOVE to read…

Well, I used to capital letters love to read. Now, I fall down every plot hole and trip over every sketchy character motivation. The examples above are from books I’ve read in the past few months. My tastes are changing.

I was the “always-finish-a-book” girl. Now, I’m the “I-can’t-stomach-the-nonsense-anymore” girl. Debris from partially read books litters the floor by my nightstand. I have piles of manuscripts on my window and in my Nook. I can’t make myself finish a devastatingly disappointing book when I have a collection of potential not-suckage waiting for me.

Without a doubt, much of the change in my enjoyment stems from writing for a living. I’ve become a critical reader. I notice errors in books as I’m trying to avoid repeating them in mine. And I don’t mean Oxford commas or ending sentences with prepositions. I’m talking huge plot issues such as the protagonist solving every problem by himself easily or you could completely take out the special power of the heroine and the story doesn’t change.

Before you jump to blaming indie publishing, the last book I read with lackluster plot and tropes for characters was a number one best seller from a major New York publisher.

True joy when I find an excellently crafted novel is the only positive result of my new affliction. I can’t wait to get to the next one.

How is your reading going? As you create new worlds, do you find issue with books you used to enjoy? For non-writers, have you seen a trend in the quality of books or are you still stuck in bliss?

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