Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'm still here...

I think.
Or perhaps just barely.

So the past few weeks have been a blur for me, and I thank you all for bearing with my sporadic posting schedule. I've been on a writing hiatus while I sort out my living arrangements. I don't think I have cracked open my laptop in at least a month, but you know, I'm OK with that. I've taken the time to do some reading, namely The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly, who is one of my favorite writers. I love her books. I remember reading The Tea Rose back in college. I had the misfortune of picking up this book during exam week and could barely put it down in order to study. In fact, I raced through it in less than two days and then after exams I went back to read it again.

There is nothing I love more than reading a book that makes you want to read it again and again... I think the quality that hooks me into a book is the characters. Characterization is everything to me. I love characters so life like that when you stumble upon a villain, you want to throw the book across the room because he/she is so evil.

I want to create characters like that. I want my readers to cheer, laugh, cry, and growl as they make their way through my writing. It's a tall order, though. It's probably why I put down 75% of the books I read. The characters just don't grab me. Their stories are just...well, blah. They're not different; they have no humor or they don't evoke sympathy. It's really sad that agents/editors/publishers are sacrificing characterization for sensationalism. Set the same old characters in the prevailing popular time period and...voila!...you have a "bestseller".

But I digress. The real subject of this post was about how I am determined to read some of my favorite books (now that they have found their way out of boxes and onto my lone bookshelf) and identify why I love them. And then I will endeavor to evoke those characteristics in my own writing.

So what about you guys? What draws you into a book? Do you try to capture those same things in your own writing?


  1. I love books with engaging characters. The type of people you at least want to meet once in your life. That's what makes a book engaging for me.

  2. I've only read Jennifer Donnelly's young adult books, Revolution and A Northern Light. Both were excellent and so different from each other. I appreciate her obvious attention to detail and research of the time periods. Even the modern-day story in Revolution (the book takes place both in present day and flashbacks to 1800s France) were so rich in detail, enough to capture time and place.

    I'm hooked by stories with a lot of contextual details and research. Even the YA contemporary I'm reading now (Moonglass by Jessi Kirby) is full of rich detail about coastal California towns and manages to weave water themes and imagry in a way that isn't forced or distracting. It reads like someone whose spent a lot of time observing beach life.

  3. Most of my favorite books make incredible use of language--they're savor-worthy. But they aren't dull, either--they have compelling plots and convincing characters, too. Oh, bother--it looks like I want it all in a book :)