Friday, May 7, 2010

Better Writer = Horrible Reader

(This image is from here)

As my writing improves – through reading blogs and books on improving the craft – I’m becoming a horrible reader. (In the sense that I am left completely unsatisfied).
I notice the smallest thing and it throws me from the story. Now, that’s not to say I never noticed these things before. It’s just, before, they were much easier to ignore. I could get past some odd pacing or an odd turn of phrase; slightly off characterizations and too much (or too little) description wasn’t that hard to accept and move past. Now these things glare at me, among other, more nitpicky things.
It’s driving me crazy.
I’m on my (week-long) summer break and want to absorb several of the books on my too read list. Books I was super excited for.
The first book I sat down with, within pages I was like really? This book is popular? The pacing is weird, there are odd sentences and the characters feel fake. I ploughed through, regardless. In retrospect, this was mostly out of sheer stupidity.
The entire time I was shaking my head, baffled over how this book survived the editing process; baffled by how this book is so popular; baffled in general. The book itself is irrelevant, the author slaved over these pages and their effort is commendable. I respect them and their effort. I just can’t enjoy it.
I picked up another book, hoping it would be better. It wasn’t as bad, but still, there were so many things that bothered me. Things that interrupt the story, disrupt the flow, and put the brakes on my enjoyment.
Reading is harder now. Enjoyable reading, that is. Every little thing nags at me and I just want to yell at anyone for it not being right.
And then I feel awful.
Because I know how ridiculously hard it is to catch flaws in your own work (I’m notoriously terrible at this). I know how hard writing is, and can be. How much of a writer goes into their creations.
I feel like, I - by disliking these books so much - am judging the writer without even knowing them. That I am being unfair in my assessment. And then I think, how would I feel, if someone felt this way about my work?
And then I realize: I can’t help it if I don’t like something. But I’m so nitpicky now, and it’s destroying my reading experience. I don’t know what to do.
I’ve fallen into an unrepentant cyclical train of thought on this matter.
Maybe these two books really aren’t that great or maybe finding books I can actually enjoy (without being tossed from the novel over mistakes) is becoming near impossible. I just don’t know and can’t break the pattern.
Does anyone have any suggestions (either on how to deal with this issue or good books)? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Word Of The Day: Hoi Polloi - the common people; the masses.


  1. SUCKS! That's all there is to say.

  2. OH! there is this one book - "forest of hands and teeth" - its REALLY good!

  3. you poor thing!! I think the only solution is to find better books hahah. Or find a book that you looove the story so much that your willing to overlook those little things. I understand though. I couldnt watch the other two Aladdins with my brother last night cause all I could think about was - those are not all the same voices from the first movie- the drawing sucks, why did they even bother - they are trying to hard to make it like the first. Hahah! oh man. I pointed this out to chris and hes like maybe you can think about those things in your head while I watch it. oops. Love you see you sunday.

  4. Favorite book, "7 Types of Ambiguity" by Elliot Perlman. Check it out sometime.


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