Sunday, November 13, 2011

Does Writing Ruin Reading?

I just started listening to Inheritance, the final book in the quartet by Christopher Paolini. Now part of the reason I'm reading this (via ipod) is so I can say I've finished the series. I have so much time invested in these books and I just want to know who dies and who lives in the end.

To be upfront, I was not a fan of Brisingr. I thought it dragged on and was completely preparation for the fourth book. And I'm hoping Inheritance redeems it.

Which comes to the topic of today's blog post: Do you think that, on some level, writing ruins reading for authors? Do you automatically edit in your head, thinking "Oh, I would have said this instead" or "Dear me, he/she could have left that out to reduce the word count"? I do. It's become an unfortunate habit since I started editing GS over a year ago.

Does this happen to you? Do you think it effects how enjoyable reading is?


  1. Definitely. I don't know that it ruins all reading, but I am certainly more conscious of the difference between good books and poor ones now. I probably wouldn't have even noticed awkward writing and flat characters in the past, but I find I can't tolerate flowery or overly poor writing now (most such books get put down before I get very far) and shallow characters or thin plot leave me feeling unsatisfied.

    The main thing it's meant for me is that I'm pickier about which books I read beyond the first chapter or two than I would have been before I started writing. A few that I can't tolerate in print I'll give a try on audiobook because sometimes some of the poor writing gets masked when it's being read aloud. THE MAZE RUNNER was one such, and I did actually finish it on audiobook.

    I listened to Eragon on audiobook a year ago; liked it well enough to finish, but not enough to bother searching out the sequels. I forget the details of why now, but it was something about the characters or plot that bothered me (rather than the writing).

  2. I completely agree with you, Seabrooke. I read Maze Runner over the summer and now wish I had listened to it instead. Reading it felt like it was a dystopian novel for the sake of being dystopian.

    Could it be, with Eragon, that you found the main character too whiny, or unable to learn? I felt that way the second time I read it (in preparation for Brisingr). It seemed like the maturation of the character happened mostly in the second book rather than spanning the first book and the sequel.