Some people love books to escape or relax. Not me. I don’t read for enjoyment anymore. It’s like the curse of a writer. When I read a book, I look beyond the plot and characters. I’m always thinking about how the author weaves their magic. I can’t flick off the writer switch. I still swoon over clever lines and descriptions like any reader would, but my mind’s in HSC English exam mode. I want to know how the author does it!
After seeing Scott Monk in Brisbane last month, I read one of his books Raw. It’s a gritty YA novel, with a lead character drenched in anger and hatred for others. I remembered Monk’s ‘no swearing’ rule in his books, and I’m amazed in how he does this. Instead of letting swear words fly like arrows, Monk simply says ‘he swore.’ Monk also describes his characters’ emotions through actions and thoughts. Yet, it’s still a book that will satisfy his core audience, boys who want action, and they get it in bucketloads. I wonder if readers notice the lack of swear words, I bet they don’t.
I’m currently reading Karen Brooks’ new book Tallow and it’s an absorbing read so far. But she swaps between the 1st person view and 3rd person view (over looking other characters) throughout. I thought she would simply keep them separate with chapters, odd chapters are 3rd person, even numbers are 1st person…until Brooks does it mid-chapter! (it’s still separated by an ‘****’, that’s not a swear word but one of those icon breaks to show it’s a new scene). Again, would a normal reader notice something like this? Probably, because it’s quite rare. It’s a general rule that you stick to one perspective but it’s a testament to Brooks’ own skills. You can break the rules but you need to back it up. Brooks does it effortlessly and I applaud for that. I’m itching to write a review for it…stay tuned!
I don’t read books simply because I want to see the author’s bag of tricks. It’s through a good story that I come to appreciate the author. Reading books has done wonders for my writing. I’m more than a fan, I’m a willing student, eager to learn and grow in my craft.
Maybe it’s more a blessing than a curse 🙂