I like reading.
Anyone who knows me would be all 'duh' about that. I've always liked it. My favorite authors as a kid were Madeline L'Engle and Stephen King. Take from that what you will as to the state of my psyche.
Anyway, when I decided to become a writer several years ago, it became a balancing act of finding time to raise my family, write, read the stuff on book shelves, and read what my new writer friends were writing. It seemed fair, since I asked them to read my writing.
As a result, I've been exposed to some really excellent writing, and some less than stellar writing. And because I'm trying to learn, I have read a lot of less than stellar writing lately. I won't name names, because I don't want to knock people who have put a great deal of work into their piece. And I know I can be included in this list of bad writing, so I feel pretty cozy saying it. Like I said, I'm trying to learn. To get better.
As a result, there is a difference in how I read now. When I find something good, I mean, really, really good, I actually feel a sense of triumph, of victory. True story. I feel a sense of joy so strong it overwhelms my wish that I had written something that good.
Ironically, the first time I felt that primal joy was reading something I was included in. I had to read the proof of A Shaker of Margaritas: That Mysterious Woman. This is an anthology published by Mozark Press. My story, Trial Run, is included. When I began reading the stories, I felt like screaming. Not out of fear, but out of such fierce gratitude for being able to read a manuscript that was well written. I can only hope that my story gave someone else that sense of satisfaction.
The second time was tonight. As you may or may not know, I'm attempting to do NaNoWriMo this year. And I'm trying to make it a romance. I haven't really done that yet. So I've been spending the last two weeks writing my crappy romance, and on a lark I picked up a romance novel at the store. But it isn't strictly a romance. The "How To Write a Romance" book I read described the rules, the do's/don'ts, and so on. And the rules were rather strict. Well, the book I picked up breaks all those rules. This gives me hope. Obviously I need to expand my education in all genres, including romance, and the fact that genres can be bent/broken gives me hope for my crappy novel.
Here I was, thinking that my story was just going to be an experiment in NaNo. But now, after reading a book that blurs the lines a bit, I feel like I can enjoy what I'm writing again, and include the explosions and crimes and monsters, and not just write a boink fest story. Boink fests are boring.
Well, I must get going. My boys just walked in the door, and announced one got in a fight on the bus. More details on that next time!