Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Insecure Writer's Support Group: The Evolution of a Reader through Writing

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February's question is: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

I think I actually considered a similar question a while back. It had to do with whether as writers we should continue to review books. At the time I was coming at it from the standpoint of someone who didn't want to lose credibility as an objective reader simply because I also happen to write. I didn't want to become one of those writers who has to tiptoe around book reviews for fear of it coming back to bite me. I thought nothing could ever change the way I read if I just refused to let it.
           And then a few months ago I realised that the number of one star reviews I gave got fewer and further between. I stopped caring about forcing myself to read the popular books no matter how much I was hating it along the way. I began to see the effort that would have gone into a book regardless of whether it was one that I was enjoying reading. I began to be less finicky about small things like typos (unless they were rampant!). I wasn't fixated on coming up with snarky one liners for book reviews. If anything, my reading became less about the technicality of writing and more about the storytelling. It's made me see that there's always more than one way a arc can go and a character can act.
         In short, I find that I have begun to give authors the benefit of the doubt. I might still not enjoy the novel but I'm less inclined to be disparaging of anything but the most glaring diversion from my own values.


5 comments:

  1. I hear you. One of the big realizations I had a few years ago was that two people can read the same book, and one will give it one star while the other will give it 5. There are so many different tastes out there, and who am I that my opinion is the only one that matters? When I review books now, I look at them from that perspective and try to focus on the positive in reviews.

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  2. You're awesome! Back when I was writing I was horrifically critical of books. I saw every single "rule" the writer had broken and would verbally slap them. Now that I'm not writing anymore I'm much more patient and forgiving. I love that your writing has actually made you kinder.

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  3. I think it's great that you go easier on authors nowadays! I don't think I ever was hard on them in the first place. There really are two ways to skin a cat. A review, whether mine, yours or someone else's, is just an opinion--not something factual in the least. I think when you realize this, you aren't so hard on those you "think" are messing up.

    I think I agree with Jenny in that becoming a critique partner--due to becoming a writer--I do see many "mistakes" in stories that I never saw before, but it doesn't affect how I review them much. I might like them the equivalent of one star less than I might have years ago.

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  4. Sounds like an awesome approach to reading as a writer. I constantly have a nagging editor on my shoulder as I read, but I don't point out weaknesses I found all that often, as I realize readers who don't write are way more forgiving than I am. (AND good thing too, because I'm not exactly a perfect writer myself.)

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  5. You know, I almost tackled this topic for my Feb. IWSG post. On the one hand, I agree with your point about knowing how much effort and heart go into the creation of a novel. On the other hand, I don't want to reward a mediocre product with glowing reviews--and I do feel pressure from many members of my writing community to do just that. My compromise is to avoid reviewing books I can't honestly praise, but I'm not completely at ease with that decision. I'm grateful for honest reviewers, especially when a recommended book comes with a string of reviews warning me that it's sappy and predictable. I have so little time to read for pleasure and, let's face it, limited funds for buying books, so a heads-up like that is appreciated.

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