Monday, November 23, 2015

A Writer's Lament

I've always been an avid reader. One of my favorite childhood memories is my mother taking my siblings and myself on bi-weekly trips to the local library. I think my love of reading is what led me to become a writer. But becoming a writer has, in a sense, ruined me as a reader.

Things that I may not have noticed as a reader jump out at the writer in me. It's almost as though I can't turn my writer's editing brain off when I'm reading for pleasure. My mom and sister and I often read a lot of the same books. When I ask them if they noticed something that jumped out at me, 99% of the time they say they didn't notice the item which leads me to believe it's the writer's brain noticing the issue that the reader's brain doesn't.

Here are three examples that came up in books all three of us read recently, but that they didn't notice:
  • In book #1, the heroine is pulled over by the local sheriff. The heroine (who the reader knows has a troubled past, just not the details of the past) has stolen property she's trying to put back so her relative doesn't end up in jail. The sheriff asks the heroine if she wants him to read her her rights or does she want to recite them with him. Now that leads me to believe she's been arrested quite a bit if she can recite her Miranda rights. In the very next paragraph, it's stated the heroine had never been arrested before much less spent the night in jail. Huh? If she's never been arrested before and her profession has nothing to do with the law - she's a nurse, why would the sheriff ask her if she wants to recite her Miranda rights with him as though she's been arrested so often that she would know them by heart?
  •  In book #2, the heroine slams the side of her fist on a table to emphasize the point she's trying to make. A couple of sentences later, she rubs her hand on her pants because the palm of her hand is stinging. Huh? The palm of her hand never made contact with the table. She hit it with the side of her fist/hand.
  • In book #3, the author ended every line of dialogue with he or she said regardless of what the line of dialogue contained. For example, "I love your new dress." Sarah said. Or "Where did you buy your dress," Sarah said. My writer's brain immediately said, no, no, no, 'said' is wrong. It should be 'asked' because Sarah asked a question. I was so distracted by the use of the wrong dialogue tag every time a question was asked that I couldn't read the book.
Have you ever read something in a book that pulled you out of the story? Or was so bothersome to you that you couldn't read the book? 

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