You know what I learned this week? That we all love to read.  Shocking.

I found it interesting that many of us share the same favorite books (and in some cases, least favorites) because it’s another link to how much alike we all are, no matter what are backgrounds may be. We all relate to certain character and situations, and that’s the magical thing about literature- it gives us commonality.

What I began to realize though, is that I’ve become cynical about the business of literature.  Let’s think about the genre thing: Ever since “Gone Girl” there has been a push to publish books that have “shocking” twists and turns. It seems that much of the audience is craving erratic storylines. Here’s my problem with this thought pattern. First off, it seems like writers pull a twist out of a hat and use it in the next chapter. There is no rhyme or reason as to how something happens, or why. Of course you didn’t see it coming: there were literally no clues to show this in previous chapters. What happened to foreshadowing?  Are they not teaching that in schools anymore? I think the best literature  leaves little tiny hints at what is to come, but does it so subtly it’s like great art: layer upon layer,  a hint, a drop… You can’t just totally change the course of a plot line. Inconsistency is not the hallmark of good literature, or even an interesting read.

When I took a writing class last year, I presented part of my story. One of the criticism’s was that what happened next was predictable. When did predictable become bad? Sometimes things are just as they seem: doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting story. There seems to be a huge divide of taste: in one corner you have the people screaming “There’s no way that would happen in real life” vs the people who literally want the plot going left, right and sideways. Can you please both audiences? No. I don’t think so- but that ends up making publishing a nightmare. Publishers need to pick a lane: who is buying more books- realists or twisters?

Twisters are apparently winning this decade.

We are starting to see it with authors we like. They start out unique and original- that’s what draws up to them in the beginning. Then, their agent or publishers says “Ok- the hot market now is crazy people who are psychologically conning people. Give me fifty thousand words about some crazy guy next door who is a soccer coach by day, but also runs a ponzi scheme, then goes to his job as a chef, where he chooses a person to add a little bit of poison to their food every time they come into the restaurant, and oh, his kid has some incurable disease….because we need to make this character human…(if anyone writes this story I want credit when it’s published…)

But in the end, it doesn’t matter, because I am going to continue to read my book a week. I’m going to try out new authors and rediscover old favorites. I am going to work on my book in the style that I want to write it, and hope for the best. Books are still my best friend and lover, and I don’t see breaking up with them anytime in the future. There may even be a book podcast in the works….

You knew I would be working on a sequel…

 

 

50 thoughts on “Finishing the Chapter on Book Week

  1. Not only that, but also lots of books with the word “Girl” in the title! Yes, the styles of what’s “in” for books will always go in fads and waves, I imagine, but at the same time there will continue to be authors writing other types of things, too. Readers need to pick and choose carefully according to blurbs and reviews. We can always find something we like…old or new…and that’s just one thing that’s great about reading!

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  2. There are definitely a lot of thrillers with ridiculous twists out there. It’s the name of the game with that genre. But outside the bestseller list and the hype, there are a lot of solid books that depend on quality, nuanced writing and well-written characters. Those books will be the ones that last. Most thrillers, I think, are too dependent upon current events and trends to last very long.

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    1. We talked about this the other day…some books get really hyped they’re often disappointing, and some books go far under the radar. There has to be better ways of marketing books

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Check out Open Letters Review. There are several people there who review all sorts of books from across genres and from around the world. It’s quickly becoming one of my go-to sources for reviews.

        If you’ve ever heard of BookTube (the book community on YouTube), you might check out Russell @ Ink and Paper Blog, Emily @ Possibly Literate, Steve Donoghue, or Rachel @ Kalanadi (if you’re interested in Sci-Fi and Fantasy).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “..a book a week” -holy cow. I remember when I joined my first book club I was informed they met once a month..I (literally) thought they read a chapter a month..HAHAHA..I just couldn’t imagine chugging through one WHOLE book a month!! Embarrassing, but absolutely true.

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    1. Reading calms me. I read before bed for about a half hour or until the ereader hits me in the face cause I’ve fallen asleep…..I also read on trains and even on lines if they’re long enough

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m finding that as I get older I’m reading less. I don’t know if it’s my eyesight or more social media consumption, but that’s the way it is. Maybe someday I’ll get back to a book a week…

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    1. Honestly, I know a lot of people who didn’t like gg….I thought the author did the twists well, but I don’t need to read a bunch of books like that

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  5. Yes, I agree, keep writing the way you want to write and love the books you want to love, don’t let anyone change you… just because it may not be the fad!
    A book a week is awesome, I still remember my husband buying me about a 600 page novel to read once and 2 days later I was done and he was like WHAT???!
    Sadly I can’t do that on a regular basis, life gets in the way. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When I am on vacation from work, I read a book a week staying up late. My eyes tire quickly while I am working, so I don’t read as much. I just had a short story (non-fiction) accepted, so I am ecstatic! Interestingly, there is now someone interested in hiring me to do some writing as they like my writing style of weaving a story. They gave me a sample piece and I am working on it now. Next week is a return to work but for now I am enjoying the vacation.

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  7. Takes me more than a week usually to read a book since I only read at night before bed. Depends on how tired I am and how interesting the book is. I love the plot about the crazy guy next door, especially the part about him being a chef and putting poison in random meals. That’s devilish! Hope there are no crazy chefs reading your blog!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I loved Gone Girl and a few like it but I find that I’m not drawn to that genre. My whole life is a crazy ass plot twist. When I read I want the comfort of knowing everything is fine. I average a book a week as well so occasionally I branch out of my genre. I’ve fallen in love with the Modern Mrs Darcy book club.

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  9. “Shocking” twists and turns! I think an ‘audience has been craving erratic storylines’ possibly since caveman days! Whilst reading The Mayor of Casterbridge also Jude the Obscure, I realised Thomas Hardy employed this trick of ‘pulling a twist out of the hat’ also ‘for what appears no rhyme or reason’ way back in 1895!!

    And yes these sudden plot twists both shocked and annoyed me, annoyed because they were so out of narrative they appeared unfair. The reason why was a simple, Hardy first published his Chapters once a week in a magazine and I guess he needed a last page ‘hook’ so as you’d buy next week’s magazine……….. I guess this literary trick is nothing new?

    TV soap’s do it to this day.

    Two examples, towards the end of Chapter One sheep ‘farmer Oak’s’ collie dog drove his entire flock of sheep over a cliff where they all died, worse still ‘Oak’ then shot the Collie!!………….. jeeze 😀 I lol never saw that one coming. Similarly I’d never have suspected Jude would murder his 2 children, straight out of the blue with no hint of it coming, but both plot changes were such a shock to my imagination I’ve never forgotten them. Great post btw.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting point…books have become the new soap opera….I hadn’t thought of it like that but you’re right. And they sort of mirror reality tv and u tube….great observation!! And as for the old stuff, I’m betting they had no idea where they were going week to week!.,

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      1. When my daughter read dickens a few years ago we had the whole penny a word conversation, and also, since it was serialized at the time, how much do people remember week to week.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Shhh! I have a secret. I haven’t read Gone Girl. I don’t even know what it’s about. I get the book a week thing though. Sometimes more, occasionally less. Especially lately. I haven’t been able to focus. Looking forward to the sequel. Thanks for the heads up.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I don’t mind a twist as long as it’s a good, original one. I think it’s getting hard for authors to pull that off. And as a result some plot twists are far-fetched and I wind up frustrated. I just want a great story. I don’t need all the crazy twists. 🙄

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  12. Since my genre is historical nonfiction, I wondered about foreshadowing. I’ve done some and it seems to go over well with readers. On the other hand, a guru of this type of writing nixes the idea. She says people want to wonder how things are going to turn out, not get hints about it all along. I think that’s a valid point, too. Stick with what happens in proper chronological order and it will naturally build some suspense.

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  13. Totally agree with you. Seems like there has to be fashion in all things, including literature, which we are encouraged to follow slavishly. I think, as you get older, you know your own mind more and you should go with that, whatsoever you are doing. Keep on with what you enjoy ! 😑

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