Books · Life Lessons · Writing

Has Being a Writer Changed You as a Reader?

Some years ago I read a book that was popular at the time. It was not normally one that I would go out of my way to read, but there was so much talk about it, my curiosity eventually got the better of me and I borrowed the book from the library.

The book began alright and I gradually worked my way half way through it, when after a while, I felt the need to put it down. I began to wonder. ‘Is this it? How much longer does this go on for?’ The problem was – nothing was happening. There was no conflict, just people going about their business. I knew something had to happen eventually, so I picked it up again and persevered with it some more, but still, nothing was happening. There were no ‘blips’, just one long endless flat line. Boring! I didn’t waste any more time with it and returned it to the library.

A few years after this incident, another book came out that once again, people were raving about. My husband had become curious and eventually bought the book. He began telling me about the plot and thought the characters (made out to be intelligent people) must have been incredibly stupid if he could solve the problem before they could. Of-course the writer in me paid attention to that one straight away. My husband suggested I take a look at it. In all honesty, I could not make it past the first chapter. It was full of clichés and my writing brain couldn’t take any more. I began to wonder how this ever got published.

From these experiences I’ve come to learn that it is in our own best interests as writers to read widely. These two books may not have been ones I would usually read, but it made me aware of particular trends. It also gave me the courage to continue writing and work harder at my craft.

I quickly discovered that when a book doesn’t do it for me, to put it down and move on. Perhaps the real lesson here is that I shouldn’t fall for books that generate a lot of ‘hype’ and follow my instincts. 😉

How has being a writer changed you as a reader? Do you read books that ‘trend’? Is there a book that you’ve read recently that you just couldn’t finish? Do you see some published books as a way to improve your own writing?

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Main image courtesy of Pixabay

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Books · Monsters, Myths & Mayhem · Writing

Raising the Stakes – More Vampires in YA Fiction?

Whenever I had visited the local bookshop these past few months (okay, Big W, I admit I’m cheap), I would be dismayed at the sight of so many paranormal romances within the Young Adult section. Back in July, after reading the discussion post on Wonderous Reads Are You Over Paranormal YA? it made me consider my options as a writer of the paranormal. Here’s some of what people had to say:-

  • Young adults are becoming tired of paranormal romances.
  • Young adults might want paranormal, but no more vampires, werewolves, fairies. (Note to self: what other paranormal is there?)
  • Young adults would like to see paranormal from the viewpoint of different countries.
  • Young adults want strong female protagonists (think Hunger Games).
  • Fantasy and horror genres may be the next big ‘thing’.

Now, admittedly this is just a handful of people’s opinions (with some handy information for a writer), however, it made me wonder that perhaps my very own YA vampire novel would have to remain in the bottom drawer for many years yet. Then came the announcement of a teenage writer landing a six-figure deal for a vampire story. Was it right or wrong in believing that readers were ‘over’ vampire stories?

Considering the positives of this announcement it is good news for writers in the paranormal/horror genre.  It gives new writers the opportunity to get published.  As writers, we need to come up with new ideas, as clearly evidenced by the reader’s comments.  With genres becoming more and more intertwined, the possibilities are becoming limitless.

When Harry Potter was released, there was a surge in the popularity of fantasy fiction, which was good news for fantasy writers.  Like everything else, trends come and go, and when it is the time for our chosen genre we just have to ride it out, until it is some other genre’s turn.  We write in our chosen genres because we love it, not because we want to write whatever is popular and this passion will come through in our writing.  Ever since the publication of Dracula back in 1897, vampires have stayed in the public’s imaginations, so they will always be a part of our psyche. They have evolved over the years because there were writers who were willing to do that for them.

I’m prepared to raise the stakes and breathe life in my vampire novel once again – are you?

Are you over paranormal for young adults? Do you see this announcement as good news for the future of the horror/paranormal genre? What do you see as being the next ‘trend’ in young adult fiction?

Image by Debbie Johansson.