1. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Reading novels once you've read about editing, edited, or written your own novel?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Aaron DC, May 18, 2015.

    So yeah. I have read quite a few sci-fi books in my time. You know. In maths class in year 9. o_O Got into trouble for that.

    Anyway.

    I have now read 2.5 books on how to write a novel, and some of the editing suggestions and methods suggested in those books.

    I have been reading, but mostly reference / non-fiction / biography as that's where my interests have been recently. I also fairly recently read the collected stories of Arthur C Clarke. So awesome to see his evolution as a writer...

    But now I want to read some sci-fi again to see how they do certain things I would like to do, to get a feel for descriptions of processes and people involved in processes and perhaps descriptions of alien worlds, etc.

    So I chose a couple of books and started reading one last night.

    And I have not experienced this before, but I am finding myself really critical of the writing. I am constantly yanked out of any level of immersion. It's distracting, to say the least. I'd like to post a couple of examples:

    Now I am no expert on grin styles, but this sounds about right:
    wolfish; resembling or likened to a wolf, especially in being rapacious, voracious, or lascivious.

    rapacious: aggressively greedy
    voracious: wanting or devouring great quantities of food
    lascivious: feeling or revealing an overt sexual interest or desire.

    I am just trying to picture myself as the protagonist (James) receiving a wolfish grin from this guy I just met a few days ago when we do anything together. It just feels... wrong. There's been no indication Daniel appreciates my sweaty form in the zero g training area. Or watching my muscles flex. Just a shared "ow that was difficult" moment and a realisation the training continues tomorrow?

    The other example was the following. At one point they have this conversation:
    then an hour later, the author notes:
    A fierce passion.

    If I have a fierce passion for something I do it all week and take any chance I can get to do it. I can't see 10 games of chess being more than enough when I have a fierce passion for it?

    Anyway.

    My questions are:

    * has anyone else experienced a similar literary minded upgrade once they started writing / editing?
    * does it get better? ie can you leave your editing hat and grammar hat behind and just be immersed in novels again or do you have to be more selective and go for better quality writing / editing to get the same escapism feeling?
    * am I simply being too harsh? which is tough really, coz I cannot unprogram how I perceive words and expressions in a hurry...

    Really curious what others have experienced?
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I think I definitely have more trouble being immersed in books now than I did before I started writing.

    It's not always in a critical way - like, I'm not always distracted by perceived faults in the books. Often I'm just more aware of technique than I'd like to be. I'm thinking about the book as a piece of writing, rather than feeling the book as a story.

    Not sure there's too much to be done about it, but if anyone has found a way to turn their inner writer off, I'd love to hear about it!
     
  3. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Same thing happens with movies now, as I am studying videography / film making. I am watching the lighting, and aware of the music and its impact, good or bad, and how they move the camera. Heck, even watching UFC I am more aware of the camera moves than the BJJ moves heheh
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    hehehe your post made me laugh. Yeah, unfortunately you're down the path of no return now! It's rare that I can switch off my inner editor when I read. I think initially, you tend to be harsher than you have to, simply because everything's so fresh, and as time goes by (think several years), you start to mellow again and let more things go. You still see it, but you're less inclined to be bothered by it. But no, I don't think the inner editor ever switches off totally.

    Incidentally, from your mention of school and the writing quality of the quotes you provided, I gather you're probably a teenager still at school? A lot of books aimed at younger folk can be written in a rather simple manner that simply no longer engages you half as well once you become more critical.

    Although, in the case of the book you lifted the quotes from - it's not very good writing :bigtongue: so I'm not surprised those things jumped out at you lol.

    Anyway yeah I'm afraid the only cure is to find better books! :rofl:
     
  5. Mike Hill
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    Mike Hill Natural born citizen of republic of Finland.

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    This is very much true. I recently started really making music with FL Studio. I have learned a lot about music. Now I notice how simple most rap beats and pop songs are. On the other hand now I admire more those complicated songs.
    They say knowledge brings pain or something like that.
     
  6. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or write them yourself...
     
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  7. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Having listened to X-Factor, I'm now appreciative of how musically sophisticated some of the stuff from late 60s/early 70s was. Dammit, I'm appreciating what good musicians the Bay City Rollers were!
     
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  8. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Good, it's not just me.

    I turn 45 this year, if that's of any assistance? I write significantly better than I did at school! And yet am always learning, so yes, still at school. School of life and continuous improvement :D

    I remember school because the teacher was very cross with me for reading while he was trying to teach us maths.

    The book I have quoted from is The Mars Imperative: Book One of the Imperative Chronicles, which I note is published by
    • Publisher: Empty Sea Intergalactic Enterprises; 2nd edition (July 14, 2014)
    which is probably purely fictitious huh. Never really looked at publishers before.


    It was only $6 for 2 books so no great loss. I'll keep reading and see if I can derive some value from it.
     
  9. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I've played a few instruments and dabbled in some simple music for video work. Some simple beats and songs are monotonous, but then something like U2's, "Beautiful day" which must have all of 5 chords in its progression and not much more still has the ability to stop me in my tracks to listen. I certainly appreciate music ability having played or tried to play various instruments.
     
  10. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Oops. Sorry, got your age entirely wrong! But hey, bet you don't get people guessing you might be 16 everyday though, right? :-D See, anything can be turned into a compliment!! :whistle:

    Btw, reading during maths sounds very familiar, except I wasn't reading - I was writing lol. I hand-wrote a really crappy crime story, something like 40 pages I think, all of it during GCSE Maths. My teacher really didn't care lol. Usually maths involved everyone just going through pages and pages of exercises and the teacher went round the room helping students, that's it, so as long as we didn't cause any trouble, she didn't care, and writing is a rather silent activity so... :agreed:
     
  11. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Yes writing would have been a more productive activity. I had my head on my desk, with the book on my lap. This Irish priest, "eh eh!? Whatta you got there?" All disappointment in his voice. le sigh.

    But but. The protagonist had his skeletal structure reinforced with unbreakable metal alloy dude, I can't stop reading this stuff. Is it any wonder I favoure Wolverine so many decades later!?
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    *shock horror* they plagiarised Wolverine!! :ninja:

    What Irish priest?
     
  13. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    The maths teach was a Catholic priest - of Irish extraction, accent an all, innit?

    I love that I can type in some keywords and find that book I was so enamoured of way back when: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Legionary
     
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  14. Deloctyte
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    Deloctyte Member

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    I had one of my first experiences with something similar just the other day: I finally got around to grabbing a book from a video-game franchise that I haven't read before. It was written by a writer who I never read anything from before, but assumed it will be as entertaining as the others were. Boy, did does style feel as jarring as hell, and it feels like it's not just the fact that the poor sod writes like he's trying to make a book feel both historic and for ten year olds.

    His way with words, his methodology, it all feels so sloppy compared to what could be done, and it's quite irksome to have that annoying voice in one's head.

    My "crytical-cynical bastard mode" is pretty hard to turn off once I realize something is a teeny bit wonky, and so far I found it to simply be a part of me that can only be put aside if the story actually has some redeeming qualities to attach oneself to. Give me a great character or an amazing scene, and I might get hooked enough to get lost. I'm afraid there's no universal off-switch that works on everyone, though. :|
     
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  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I only have that experience of disliking the flaws in the writing with some books, and I don't read very far in before returning them to the library. But other books are incredible inspirations whether it be for the way emotional depth was handled or the way I was sucked into the author's world. I'm finding all sorts of inspiration for things that can enhance the book I am writing.
     
  16. Jared Carter
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    Jared Carter Member

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    After taking two writing courses, reading books on writing, and writing + editing myself, I've found it hard not to notice faults in other peoples works.
    I've still been able to tolerate some books with awkward word choices because, despite their awkwardness, they still manage to paint a clear picture that doesn't leave me scratching my head.
    Other times, I sort of chuckle and think to myself "Yeah, I could've done better than that!" Although I suppose that's easy to say, considering that the book is already wrapped up, but to write a book for yourself all while keeping track of your own sloppiness is another story altogether.
     
  17. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    heheheh yes I am wary that this phenomenon is going to come back and bite me in the backside in a twist of deliciously ironic hypocrisy :D
     
  18. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    When you say writing courses - which ones did you do? Were they formal uni courses or 3rd party styled things? Do you have links to them? Were they good? Did you enjoy them? Recommended?
     

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