My grandma’s been cleaning out her basement, and she’s got boxes of books to give away. I claimed them to take to my favorite used book store so I’d get the store credit (mwahaha).
Before I took them in, I thought I should read them. Maybe not all of them, there are a lot of books there, but make a stab at them. Reading is a big part of how writers learn, after all!
I chose the first book based on two criteria. I liked the pretty green dress on the cover and it was near the top of the box. Very technical decision making process.
Three times this week I’ve gone to bed early, intending to get some reading in before I went to sleep. Three times I’ve read just a few pages and put the book down and enjoyed an extra hour of sleep instead.
The problem is that the prologue, which was exciting and action packed, appears to happen several years AFTER the events at the start of chapter one.
Right away, I’m frustrated. I can’t stand non-linear storytelling. I can’t skip scenes when I write either. I want the story to start at the beginning, and go until the end.
Speaking of endings … it had better be satisfying. I was 12 years old when I read Gone With The Wind. I loved it, read every spare moment, I remember reading while walking down the hallway between classes at school. I finished it in just 3 days … and was very upset when the story ended with “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” That is NOT a satisfactory ending! I felt like I’d invested in this story for a thousand pages, only to be told, “You don’t get to know how it ends! Na Na Nana Na!”
The other thing that is a “story-ruiner” for me isn’t probably for most of the world. I can’t stand an inaccurate representation of horses. I mean, there are some things I can overlook (like the horses that whinny constantly on movies), but using incorrect terminology, or describing equine behaviour that would NEVER happen in real life is a surefire way for a book I was enjoying to suddenly become a wallbanger.
Once I was reading a romance novel that described a stallion covering a mare … at least, that’s what the author was going for, though I’m quite sure she’d never actually seen it in real life. On TV a couple months ago there was a drama on that centered around a mystery involving frozen horse semen. They’d obviously done their research, and were going over the top to make sure the technical aspects were described to the audience. A little abruptly, but still explained. I was so impressed. And then …. at the end they found the missing semen in the freezer of a refrigerator (that wouldn’t cut it; semen is stored in liquid nitrogen) and it was in a container used for cooled semen (frozen semen is stored in straws). So close.
I’m going to go back and finish that historical romance this weekend. It could be a great read, out-of-order prologue notwithstanding. Besides, I might learn something. Just like when you go to a clinic with your horse and you don’t like the instructor – learning what NOT to do is important too!
As a reader (or TV/Movie watcher) what drives you crazy?