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Trapped! In NOT My Next Favorite Book | Anti-Reader Crime #2

Trapped! In NOT My Next Favorite Book | Anti-Reader Crime #2

The Quest For Your Next Favorite Book Begins

The bookstore beckons.


(Nowadays often called Amazon.)


You stroll its dusty (electronic) aisles (with finger swipes and squinting eyes) in hopes that you will slip, trip and fall right onto your next favorite book.


You know you like *enter favorite tropes here* (see the previous blog about tropes!), so you hit the genre of books that normally has those tropes and start your search.


The table display (flat online image) presents a buffet of new releases that you may love.


Or hate.


Or just not care about.


But to know for sure involves that pesky, risky price tag. Right?


“Arg,” you say. (Because this is a PG blog.)


“Is there no way to test the waters before I buy?” you lament. “To know if there is even an inkling of a chance that it will hold at least $ .50 worth of my interest, let alone the actual price of the book? Oh, woe is me!”


(I know, a little dramatic. But these are your words, not mine.)


(I’m not dramatic at all.)


“Ye hark, there fair reader,” I exclaim. “There is a way!”


“Oh gracious me!” you reply. “Such relief hast fallen over me as a warm crash of water from the heavens!”


(What’s happening right now?)


Of course, the way to know if you might like the book is to start reading.


Yep, turn the first page and give her a test drive.


You can do it in the live bookstore or on most online bookstores as well. You usually will be given a sample chapter.


Use it! Pull open that book and start.


(That may seem obvious, but let us delve into what happens after you start reading.)


If you suddenly find yourself being stepped over in the bookstore or being told you need to move forward in the line at Cassie Mae’s Sweet and Sassy Southwestern Style Thai and Patisserie Food Truck (her Drunken Noodle over BBQ glazed crumpet is as heavenly as it is strange) means that the book has hope.


Do you want to keep reading? Then they’ve got you.


Buy the book.


“But why does that tell me anything?” you ponder.


“What if I get bored at the beginning but I love it later?” you ruminate.


“What if it’s great at the beginning and goes to heck (PG rating) later on?” Sweat breaks out upon your brow.


“What if I never find another book I’ll love ever, ever again!”


And you swoon.

"You might discover a whole new land of favorite books you never knew was there."

Why Reading Means Everything

See Spot run.


See Spot jump.


Spot is a happy dog.


There is a reason why children’s books are filled with pictures. Because reading this, I don’t see anything.


Do you? I mean, I am going out on a limb and thinking that dear bounding Spot may in fact have some sort of circular coloring-type features on his doggy fur. But I do not know for sure.


Where is he? Why is he running? Or jumping? He is happy by the third sentence. Did the running and jumping make him happy? Or because he ran and jumped he is now happy?


And what is he running towards? Or maybe he was running from.


Spot, what’s going on with you, buddy?


I could make it up.


Make up my own dog Spot while I am reading this…


Spot was a beautiful caramel bespeckled puppy whose mother was a Dalmatian, so he was drawn to chase fire trucks like toddlers are want to balance themselves on the most dangerous things in the room. Spot was a runner, and whenever he heard the siren’s howl of the starting line, Spot dashed like puppy-lightning through the winding asphalt pathways until he was yipping in delight at the rubber heals of the fire-red metal creature that called to him.


(I do write a lot about dogs. Hmmm, future writing note to self: cats.)


However, his father was a Golden Retriever so he loved the water, chomping at the hose spray (that inevitably knocked him on his puppy buns) in playful attack as dutiful yellow-slickered hose wielders became soot streaked and yelled.


This was Spot at his happiest!


Until one day…

"Your favorite books whisk you away to some place with characters you love and a series of events you know by heart. But you are willing, and as eager as Spot, to run those reading roads again and again."

Don’t leave me alone in here!

But wait, I’m not the writer (of the book I’m reading).


Why am I having to fill in the vast spots of empty Spot-ness?


Exactly.


Your favorite books whisk you away to some place with characters you love and a series of events you know by heart. But you are willing, and as eager as Spot, to run those reading roads again and again.


That means, you don’t have to work hard.


That means, you don’t have to write the story yourself.


You don’t have to fill in the…Spot holes…the places of nothing. Spot running and jumping and being happy. And really nothing else.


This, my dear blog reader darlings, is called the White Room Syndrome. And is anti-reader crime #2.


The writer has abandoned you to be trapped in a white room. Blank walls, blank floors, no reason, no rhyme. And the only way forward in the story they wrote is for you to make it all up for them.


So if you read that first page or two, or even the first paragraph or two in the book you are holding, and you are not whisked away?


Pick-up (swipe to) another book. And try again.


Really, don’t give them much more than a couple paragraphs. If they don’t hook you, run to a different story water hose. When it’s good, you won’t even notice. You’ll just be reading.

Dang-Nub-It, You Made Me Read!

One of the jokes, that is actually a huge compliment in the writer world, is if you submit a story to an editor and you make them read when they know the story won’t fit with their project, their line, their anthology, etc. They have limited time to search through a (sometimes near literal) mountain of (printed) stories and either the reader grabs them or they don’t. The editor gives the writer a couple sentences, maybe a paragraph or two. If nothing, then toss to the next.


But if you hook an editor with a story and they are reading, past paragraph one, paragraph two…they’re turning (scrolling) page after page – even when they know, they KNOW, they can never buy the story because it doesn’t fit – that just ticks them off.


It means there is not a white room. Spot is fully fledged and flushed out fabulously in 3D reading life, with all his antics and fire running and hose jumping, happy with his soot-buddies.


Yep, great story! But the editor can only take stories about cats.


The writer made him read. Made him waste his precious time.


That is a writer you want to read.

Unleash Your Inner Stingy Editor

So get those white rooms out of the way. Toss them fast after the first page or two. Set them free upon the world for someone more willing to write their own story between another author’s empty pages.


Get to your next favorite book faster.


But I do recommend that if you find yourself reading a book on cats when all your favorite books are books about dogs…


If it’s your turn in line to order a BBQ crossiant spring roll and you choose to step out of line “just until I get to the next chapter…”


Well then I say, give sweet Fluffy a chance. You might discover a whole new land of favorite books you never knew was there.


Meow.

…It Just Goes On and On, My Friend

There is one more area, one last anti-reader crime that is a little more subtle – until it hits the wall and you yell “poser” or “hack.” Or “balderdash!”


(Still PG people. Work with me.)


What just happened and how can you avoid it?


How about I not only help you avoid it, I tell you how to see it coming? Way out.


Well, then come back next week and we shall venture forth on our heroic quest to find your next favorite book!


This was fun. See you Monday!

Stephanie Writt

Writer, instructor, graphic artist and all around lovely soul, with a generous sense of humor (yes, I am totally writing this myself), takes delight in sharing her geeky knowledge and ridiculous joy in reading, writing and business. As the current Director of Operation at WMG Publishing Inc., she has the privilege and mischievous pleasure in writing this blog every week. 

Here's a chance to connect with Fluffy! I guarantee Spot won't mind at all.

Fluffy leads the perfect life. Her cat bed, her kibble, a human to wait on her. Until they come. And they will change everything—unless she finds a way to stop them.


One of award-winning writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s most popular stories.


“Rusch is a great storyteller.”

—RT Book Reviews

Learn to Write Someone's Next Favorite Book!

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