Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Critical reading

Writers are picky readers - at least, this one is. Applying the internal editor alongside the reader - assessing technique, tropes, thinking about how you would have written that particular scene. But perhaps is just me. As I have said, loud and long, there is a lot of reading going on at present - so a lot of inner editing. And envy, when the book is good.

Books and tea. What more do you need?

Reading in bulk, as it were, brings up repeated themes and raises some interesting questions. And pet hates. One of my 'favourites' on that score is the unread letter. You know the one - the one that if it had been read on page 20 would have sorted the whole thing out there and then. I must say a book has to show a very great deal of promise for me to get past that one. Otherwise it is straight in the charity pile. I also get irritated by the appearance of children or pets for some reason of the plot - who are then totally in the way and are repeatedly shuffled off to minders, or even worse. not mentioned at all.

But it's not all negative. Trying to work out how the good stuff is done, and the stuff that makes you think about the craft side of writing, is always welcome. But like I said - that's where the envy comes in. I've read a number of time slips - they are perennially popular and I'd love to write one. They almost inevitably hinge on old letters or journals. I'm now trying to come up with something different. I'm not sure whether there can be anything that does not involve the written word - although a piece of art sometimes makes an appearance, but it's keeping me amused. And I've also read a couple of books that feature what I think Alfred Hitchcock referred to as a McGuffin. It's an article or a plot detail that kicks the story off but becomes less and less important as it progresses and by the end has sometimes completely disappeared. Now this does offend the control freak part of me that demands the tying up of lose ends, but it's clever, and done well it works, So that is food for thought too.

You see, all this reading - it's not just entertainment.

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