Saturday, March 19, 2011

How Does a Great Book Treat YOU?

Jenn here. Lately, I've been reading a lot of great #Christianfiction. It seems like the books are just getting better and better. They are fast pace, easy reads, hard to put down, and contain some great, unexpected plot twists.

In the past when I've read a great book, it has either inspired me to write and go create my masterpiece or it depresses me making like I'll never be that great writer I've always dream of. My reactions have ranged from one end of the spectrum to the other. I'm not sure if it depends on my mood, the stress level in my life, or all the things overwhelming my plate.

Right now I'm feeling encouraged since I just attended a writing conference that refreshed and inspired me. Therefore, the book I'm reading is also inspiring me. And yes, I think it is another great book. Heaven help me if I ever become so critical that reading for pleasure becomes impossible. I've heard some writers say that writing has taken the pleasure out of reading. I don't ever want to get to that point.

What about you? How does a great book make you feel? Do you think writing rules have ruined your ability to sit down and enjoy a book without critiquing it to death or can you turn off that internal editor?


  1. Hi Jennifer:

    You make many very insightful observations here. Yes, at times I have felt depressed after reading a book that is so good that I have no hope of ever writing as well. But I quickly realize that I’m not going to try and write that book. I need to write a book in a way that only I could have written.

    I think Missy Tippens writes books in a ‘voice’ that’s heartwarming yet very realistic. I could never do this and I have not seen anyone else do it the way Missy does. And if no one else can do it, I not going to feel bad that I can’t. I'm just happy that she can and that I get to enjoy reading it.

    Then sometimes I read a book that inspires me because I see how the author did something wonderful and it is something that I can also do. I just finished a book that showed me a great deal about how to write a great beginning, create an amazing ‘black moment’ that the reader sees coming from almost the start of the book and how to have four HEAs in one. It’s Kansas Courtship, and I describe all this on my site.

    Being a writer and enjoying reading is like a double edged sword. A writer can get twice the enjoyment from a good story in which the writing shows great talent. Sometimes I admire the writing skills more that the story; In this respect, even a weak story can give a great deal of reading enjoyment.

    On the other hand, an average story with poor writing techniques can produce twice the disappointment. Also a very good story can lack reading enjoyment if the actual writing is shoddy. I think this is where writers differ the most from many readers. Books they should enjoy as readers, they don’t as writers.

    Then there is the supreme joy of reading a great story with great writing. I think this is a joy only another writer can experience. I felt this while reading “A Hope Undaunted” by Julie Lessman.

    By the way, this experience is common in all the creative professions from music to movies.


  2. Jenn,
    I tried to post this earlier but blogger wouldn't let me.
    I've been on both ends of the spectrum--when I got to beta read your second book, I wanted to get to my computer and work on my book! You have such a way with words, setting and your characters were amazing. I wanted to do the same thing in my manuscript--bring it to life!
    Then when I read Cathy's book, Yesterday's Tomorrow I felt like I could never be a great writer like she is.
    So, it affects me both ways. Inspires and makes me feel lacking.
    Great post.

  3. Vince, I love the double-edged sword analogy--and it is so true. I guess that is why a great book can affect us in so many ways.

  4. Lindi, I'm glad Highland Sanctuary at least inspired you. I have lots of deep edits I have to make on it. I'll probably be living in a cave for the next month.

    Cathy's book is wonderful. I had the pleasure of being one of her critique partners on that book and I've seen it go through so many stages. I remember the discouragement she was feeling last year. Plus, it's a time period we don't see much of so I'm so glad to see it in print.

  5. Man, Blogger hates me. First, this post (and Christy's) didn't show up when I checked on Sunday. And now it just ate my comment! I'll try again.

    Vince, thank you!! I agree about the double edged sword.

    Jenn, I do both as well. I get inspired. And I also whine and cry and say I'll never write as well as so-and-so. Writers! We're all so insecure! LOL