Thursday, April 20, 2017

Would You Rather...?

I admit to a secret indulgence: personality tests. (I know it's weird. You have your own little quirks. I won't judge if you won't.)

Now, I can hear you now: "T, I don't care what color your personality is." (All of them, depending on my mood when taking the test.) That's okay, because that's not what this post is about. (Thank the Lord!)

I come up with my own (non)scientific explanations for how the universe and it's humanoids operate, and I always begin with the one I  know the most about: me. (You thought I was going to say mi esposo, didn't you?) (He's the 2nd person I wonder about, but I still think he might be an alien.) Years ago, I developed some pseudo scientific, well-thought-out and developed explanations for how to choose which medical career (aka: Why I'm an occupational therapist and not a physical therapist or a nurse) and a theory of male mental age development (or lack thereof). If you have any interest in the above, let me know.

More recently, I have been considering authors/writers and their target/victim, the reader. I have done my research: reading, attending lectures, reading, writing, and, of course, reading. Now, I have formed my expert conclusions to share. (I can hear your bated breath. Exhale now.)

From what I've been able to figure, there are two types of authors:

1. Writers who read. These are people trained, or at least subscribe to, the Science of the Written Word. Every detail of character, plot, subplot, descrptions, grammar, verbiage, etc is carefully executed to perfection. When they write, the emphasis is on what the Reader wants to see. When they read,  the emphasis is on the quality of the writing.

2. Readers who write. These subscribe to the Art of the Written Word. The written emphasis is on what the Writer wants to read. Characters, plots and subplots get most of the attention; while grammar, POV and other details are of lesser importance. The same goes when reading.

Which one would you rather read?

As a lifelong, avid reader of both styles, I will tell you my preference is #2. Why? Because, if the story is engaging, I can forgive most grammar issues (although my OCD will still go haywire), and other "unforgivable" problems with writing like point of view (POV). I get lost in flowery language and detailed descriptions. As long as I can enjoy the story, then I'm happy. (I also read the last chapter after the reading the 1st 2-3 chapters. Gotta make sure things are going to be okay in the end. Same goes for movies. Give me a spoiler any day.) (Don't judge.)

Personally, I hate reading a romance novel with single person POV. It's boring. A romance novel is about developing a relationship between 2 people. I want to understand where both people are coming from without impacting the pace of the story. Some authors will give each character their own chapter but rehash the same event. No Bueno! (And please don't insult my intelligence by telling me this chapter is Ben's POV, then this is Beth's POV. I can kinda figure it out on my own, thanks.) It's fine to be in one person's head for a mystery novel. They're trying to figure out who done it.

Sorry. That was a tangent and a rant. Anyway...

What brought this on? I attended a writer's meeting this week and one writer mentioned that she was having difficulty getting her book published, and questioned what she needed to do to be seen. The response was to give her character quirks (make them more interesting). This is not the first time I had heard this discussion, nor is it the only answer I have heard for why X, Y or Z hasn't happened. Any suggestion is fine and dandy in my opinion, but I think an important point is often overlooked: publishers tend to look for Writers who read, not Readers who write. This is one of the reasons why writers are told to keep submitting their work and to expect 50 or more rejections before they get a break.

This is one reason why I self-published in the first place. I don't have that kind of patience.


P.S. I'm trying to write a horror story. Kinda creeping myself out. Stay tuned!

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