I’m kicking this off by talking about one of the three books I’m reading right now. It’s on my mind and it’s part of what I’d promised to talk about on this site.
Woo-hoo, it’s finally up! *doin’ happy dance*
As a writer, part of my job is to read. Since it’s a pleasure, it hardly feels like work. But if you must call it that I will toss my head back and oh-so-dramatically throw the back of my hand against my forehead. Pretend I toil at it. Which can happen, not all books are created equal.
But in this instance, I’m loving it.
It’s my first Molly O’Keefe, a little book called “Can’t Hurry Love”. The title sounds so familiar and the story as well. But O’Keefe is great at describing the feelings, the hidden thoughts behind the characters. What’s even better is that it’s realistic. I’m surprised that at every turn I’m more and more convinced that Miss Molly has nailed the human condition. She might laugh at this if she read it. Thinking to herself Why, yes, of course, you fool. And I don’t know her, so I might even deserve that. But it’s worth saying that though we all experience the human condition, it’s much harder to get it right on the page than it seems. I know from experience.
Which is why I’m enjoying this discovery because that is what drove me to start this writing thing in the first place. That realism of human character that sometimes gets left off the page in Romance novels. I suppose a lot of people like to be submersed in pure romantic fantasy. But I find the payoff is better when the characters struggle with issues the way I would, or the last guy I dated would. Even if the world is a little far left of the one we live in.
So, I was reminded about a piece of advice I read on the QueryShark blog recently. As she was picking writer-meat from between her teeth, she offered the querier to do the following. First, read. Other books, that is. Which I’m sure the querier does. Then the shark said to note what it is that works well in each book and why it does. And keep a journal of these notes. I kind of had a Doh! moment when I read her comment. But while I was reading Miss Molly’s book, it all made sense. I’m not ashamed to admit, I could use all the pointers I can get, obvious ones included.
Maybe I pass this advice along and help another writer in their lonely quest of finishing their novel. Or, perhaps, encourage one of you to pick up this book. I’m still reading it, but so far I’m hooked. And learning…