Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Yesterday, Connie, a writer colleague of mine, had in interesting thought on her blog. 

“As a writer trying to get published I find myself dissecting other works. Whether it be books, television or the movies; when something resonates with people, I try to pull it apart to see why. What is so appealing about this scenario, characters, or plot-line?”

Well, that got me thinking about the books I read, and why I enjoy some more than others.
Is it a driving plot? Or an author’s writing style?
Currently, I’m reading two books.
One book is in my bathroom—a down and dirty quick read.
The other is in my living room—a lounge on the couch read.
The bathroom book is Straight Man by Richard Russo.
The living room book is Eclipse, third in the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer.
Obviously, two very different types of books.
One is literary. The other commercial.
And I must say that the writing in Straight Man is phenomenal! Every word, every sentence is perfect. I love his wit.
Unfortunately . . .
I don’t love his protagonist enough to keep me reading more than a page or two at a time. If I did, I'd have hemorrhoids by now.
The writing in Eclipse however is, well, so YA.
And of course it is. The intended audience is young adults.
But, although Eclipse is YA, I'm enjoying the story more than Russo’s because I care more about Bella and Edward than I care about . . .
Well, see there?
I can’t even remember the poor character’s name in Straight Man.
I guess, the bottom line for me is . . .
Doesn't matter if I’m reading commercial or literary fiction . . .
Besides a compelling story . . .
And more important than well-written, witty, or beautiful writing . . .
I have to care about the characters and what happens to them.
I'm going to have to go back and analyze my manuscript now and see if besides wit and 
and plot . . .
Will my readers care?

Always, Em-Musing

P.S.  I just found out today that Russo has a new book out titled, That Old Cape Magic. And yes, I’ll buy it because he is a phenomenal writer and I can learn a lot from him. But . . .
First, I’m going to buy Breaking Dawn, the last book in the Twilight series because I can’t wait to see what happens next to Bella, Edward, and Jake.


Connie Phillips said...

Hey Karen,

Thanks for the mention :-). It all goes back to those rooting interests we were talking about at brainstorming I think.

My daughter enjoyed the first three books of the Twilight series. I went to the movie with her, and I'll go to New Moon with her, but I haven't brought myself to read the books yet.

Sloan Parker said...

Great post. I've also read books that weren't written all that well but had amazing characters that I cared about, so they were great reads for me. What I love are those rare authors who have a style that I admire and characters I care about. That's when it's really good!