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  1. #16
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    When I read, it's almost always fiction. But I must admit that I have so little time to read these days. I have been writing for six years straight without more than a six or seen week break between books. During those breaks, I gather up every book I can think of and I read non-stop. The problem I now have when I read anything remotely similar to what I write, is that I find it difficult to read uncritically. I notice technique and style all the time, but so consciously now that it interferes with the enjoyment of the narrative for me. I can read things that are totally unrelated to fantasy, but even then I find that I read critically still, instead of for the enjoyment and relaxation that it always used to afford me.

    Reading was my joy. Reading fiction was like taking a vacation every time I opened the cover. Now I think I need to go back to philosophical texts and more technical works until I can learn once again to read for the enjoyment of it.

  2. #17
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    It's temporary, Gary. You've just learned to be a magician, is all. If you think about a fiction writer as a magician, then as a reader, you enjoy the show, watch the tricks and wonder, how does he do that. But as a writer, you know what the magician is doing, you can see behind the curtain as to how the trick was done, and it does take the magic out of the thing a bit. But, what you lose in wonder, you gain as you go in admiration for a well-done illusion -- you see the true, full beauty of it. Eventually, you may find you appreciate others' works of fiction more than you did before, even the ones you think are not that well done.

  3. #18
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Interesting take on it. I actually have been quite depressed about this problem until now. I certainly hope you are correct, and I truly look forward to adopting that perspective with the next book I read. BTW, the next book is Scott's TDTCB as soon as he sends it to me!

  4. #19
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    I found, like Gary, that once I started writing, my fiction reading really tapered off. As Kat has said, I can see some of the tricks now. When they're done really well, I either don't notice them at all (highest praise) or I admire the skill with which they're done. When they're done badly, it takes me out of the story and then it's not such a fun read anymore. Even with some really good authors, I can occasionally find portions of the books where I can tell, "A-ha! She got stuck here, and had to do this in order to make it all work." But if the rest of the book is good, those bits are easy to get past.

    And I sure hope I remember them when I get stuck! And either use them or find even better ways to un-stick myself.

  5. #20
    The Lost Prince
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    Critical Reading

    I hate this sort of critical reading, it kills the reading experience completely, and that is no fun at all when reading fiction. Letting the author drive you into their world and tell you their story is impossible when your brain gets systematized to criticizing and analyzing what you read. It can make you an excellent critic, but excellent critics have no pleasure reading, unless the book forces them to gape in wonder. Maybe you need a book of that sort, or a long break from reading until you "drop your guard"

    And by the way, I read because it's the second best thing in the world!

  6. #21
    looking for coffee redhead's Avatar
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    i read primarily fiction. maybe. . . 10-15 hours per week?

    why?
    enjoyment, escapeism, entertainment. what's that quote i occasionally see as an internet signature. . something like "anyone who says they only have one life to live has never read a book". reading lets me vicariously do anything, and everything. it lets me go anywhere, go places that don't exist, see anything, see things that don't exist. reading is like dreaming.

    i'm not an overly social person, and as i start to care about characters in books, it's like having a new friend. sounds pretty sad when i look at it that way.

    sure, movies can be entertaining, as far as "story telling" is concerned, but movies are more like dreaming: more visuals, not as much depth. i'll take a good book any time.

  7. #22
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HellCold View Post
    ...when your brain gets systematized to criticizing and analyzing what you read.
    Hi, Hellcold. Yes, this is exactly what seems to end up happening to me when I'm in "full-write" mode. I guess because I've got my "self-editor" hat on front and center when I'm in the middle of writing a book, it's hard for me to just sit back and enjoy reading other people's fiction. Consequently, when I finish a manuscript, I pull out my pile of to-be-read's and really go to town!

  8. #23
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redhead View Post
    sure, movies can be entertaining, as far as "story telling" is concerned, but movies are more like dreaming: more visuals, not as much depth. i'll take a good book any time.
    And hello to you, too, redhead! I agree completely. While movies can imprint some indelible images on one's brain, they infrequently do enough justice to characters to make them truly memorable. But a really good book, where you've had time to grow with the characters and make them completely real within your head, can bring a much more emotional experience!

  9. #24
    The Lost Prince
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radthorne View Post
    ...in "full-write" mode.
    I just love the expression

    While movies can imprint some indelible images on one's brain, they infrequently do enough justice to characters to make them truly memorable. But a really good book, where you've had time to grow with the characters and make them completely real within your head, can bring a much more emotional experience!
    I completely agree. By reading a book, one can experiment a thousand feelings, all contradicting, but all coexistent. Not much visuals in a book, but certainly a lot of intimacy with it. In a movie, though, one's more likely to receive what the movie delivers, exactly as it is.

    An interesting thought is that, unlike movies, books have no background music. (Remember the music in the Lord of the Rings movie? Tolkien was a genius, but he couldn't "insert" music into his books. Now I'm being silly )

    And now this looks like a "book or movie" debate...

  10. #25
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HellCold View Post
    An interesting thought is that, unlike movies, books have no background music. (Remember the music in the Lord of the Rings movie? Tolkien was a genius, but he couldn't "insert" music into his books. Now I'm being silly )
    Somewhere here on the SFFWorld board there's a thread about what writer's listen to as they're writing. I don't recall if the discussion delved into whether or not what they were listening to influenced what they wrote at that moment or not, but it's interesting to think about...

    For the record, I either don't listen to any music at all while writing (I get too distracted and start listening and not writing), or listen to a waterfall with my headphones (in the lunchroom at work, to drown everybody out so I can concentrate).

  11. #26
    The Lost Prince
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radthorne View Post
    For the record, I either don't listen to any music at all while writing (I get too distracted and start listening and not writing), or listen to a waterfall with my headphones (in the lunchroom at work, to drown everybody out so I can concentrate).
    I agree with the idea. Music is good only when you're thinking, but when you're doing anything practical, it slows you down. When I'm idle, music can help me collect my thoughts and make some decisions, but other than that - when studying, for example - it's more distracting.

  12. #27
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Not me! I can't live without music. It's the first thing I turn on in my office, in the car, when I write, when I read...

    It can set a mood for me, or enhance a mood. If I need to write something sad, serious, melancholy, I can turn to certain songs and even the first note gets me where I need to be.

    For me, music heals just about anything. And it never distracts me.

  13. #28
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    And you were just the guy I was thinking of when composing my earlier response!

    So, Gary, beyond setting your mood when you start, once you're into a passage of writing does what you're hearing influence you any more directly? If the music shifts from slow-paced to fast-paced, does your writing change as well? Or can you tell to that degree?

  14. #29
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Honestly, a single note of a song that moves me can set the tone. Then I'm off and running. I may listen again to the same song. But I do that often even when I'm not writing.

    The music enhances my mood and I know what artists I crave when I'm about to write a very serious chapter. I never much liked fluff in music or in literature. So my ipod is filled with music that serves a very personal purpose for me. My playlists would be a psychoanalysts playground!


    For me, the writing I enjoy most is very lyrical, very poetic, very moving. Songs are short stories. Books are symphonies.

  15. #30
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    How about during your editing stage, after the first draft? Does music assist you there, or does the process of editing spring from a different source within you? Or require a different kind of music than for the original creation?

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