[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]
It’s Thursday ~ 03/07/13 ~ and…
I’ve been reading a lot the past couple of weeks. I wish I could say it wasn’t necessary to prompt me to read. I should be reading every day. It’s too easy to get completely immersed in my own work, and reading regularly helps me to keep my writing fresh. And, like many writers, I love to read. However, the truth is that I don’t seem to find enough time these days unless I’m judging a contest.
I judge two kinds of contests, those that are geared toward the writer where I analyze the writing itself, and those that are aimed at reader preferences. The contest I’m currently judging is a reader contest. I really do enjoy the excuse to read for the pure pleasure of it.
So, what do I read? That’s easy. Romance. If there’s a romance in the story, I read it. Paranormal. Historical. Romantic suspense. Young Adult. Contemporary. SciFi. In fact, I enjoy most of the genres.
What is it about the genre that I love most? Everything! That may sound facetious but it’s the truth. Yes, I love the heroes. What woman doesn’t want to read about a sexy man who falls desperately in love with the woman of his dreams, despite himself? I want to see that happen, experience it as it happens, alongside the heroine who deserves to find that one man who can love and cherish her for the person she is inside.
I wish I could say that every book I read in one of these contests is a gem just looking for space on my Keeper Shelf. I’m often surprised at how many times I do find one of these books. I have discovered a lot of new authors this way. On the other side of the coin are the books, and authors, that disappoint me.
I know that every book is not for every reader, and that’s okay. It’s why we have so many genres to choose from as readers. There’s something for everyone. When I judge writing contests as a writer, it’s relatively easy for me to remain objective and analyze the structure and elements of a story rather than my enjoyment. That’s not the case when I’m judging as a reader.
I judge reader contests based on my enjoyment of the whole experience. It’s subjective because it’s personal. Finding a sexy hero between the pages isn’t enough for me if the heroine is TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) or the writing style keeps me at a distance. I can love a heroine, her feisty nature, her desire to make her own way in the world but, match her up with a jerk I wouldn’t give the time of day to or have her do something that conflicts with the character you’ve drawn in my head, and you’ve lost me. I need to relate to a character’s actions, understand and accept them, on a personal level.
Still, I’m constantly amazed at how many authors do capture me on that personal level. The most difficult part of judging these contests is when I find all five books in a panel worthy of the highest score I can give them. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve ended up looking at a panel of books I’ve scored all 5’s, and then been forced to decide a tie-breaker list. I gave them all fives! How do I decide which of those books is my top favorite down to my least favorite of my favorites?
It’s a dilemma I love because it means that I was able to enjoy five books in a row, without a stinker in the bunch, and that’s why I read books in the first place.
See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….