Sunday, April 2, 2017

Are You A Reading Zombie?

Do you read or do you read?
Image courtesy of Pitiya at

What I mean is whether or not one reads just to absorb the general plot and characters or if you read and therefore catch the subtle nuances of a character’s behavior. Do you read and catch the foreshadowing, the ties to things that don’t seem to mean anything in chapter four but suddenly make brilliant sense in chapter fourteen? Do you notice the symbolism an author may use or the recurring themes throughout the novel?

So I ask again—do you read or do you read?

Before I go any further, this post is NOT directed at anyone. The following musings I’m about to share with you are just that—my observations of late that lead to wonderings and ponderings about fiction writing, the reading of fiction, and how I apply what I notice in today’s publishing field to my own work.

With the e-book market inundated by e-pubs that pop up then disappear like corner quickie marts, combined with the fact anyone who wants to write anything can self-publish as easily as breathing, I find myself considering the fact that the actual art of composing a story is vanishing. It scares me, scares me for the future readers just learning their ABCs, and it frightens me for the future of language and writing in general. This leads to the question—are readers truly focusing on their reading material? In the romance writing/reading communities I see comments such as “Oh, the hero is sex on legs!” or “I was disappointed that there wasn’t more sex in the book.” What about the plot? The actual story line? The climactic scene? Etc.? 

It makes me wonder, too, if authors are writing more fluff just to crank out books and earn more royalties. Sure writers want to make money and support themselves or use royalties for a supplement income, but is there a line where creativity is sacrificed for some extra dough?

Do readers pay attention to character development, settings that serve the scenes well, the subtle hints that a character really isn’t who he or she presents him or herself as, that maybe, just maybe there’s more to Aunt Geraldine’s story of murdering Uncle Ray in self-defense than meets the eye? And what about catching those big blunders such as a character being in the chapel on the south side of town, when he is already shopping for Wonder Bread on the north end of town? How about when
Tonya’s eyes are green on page ten but suddenly blue on page ninety-two? Are writers not checking their work, leaving it strictly for an editor’s weary, blood-shot eyes (coming from an editor of nearly twenty years who has only recently rid herself of the weary, blood-shot eyes syndrome). 

Is true reading dead? Or, as the photo to the left indicates, is true writing dead or, if not dead, its on its way to being passé? Has the utter enjoyment of absorbing and enjoying each word of a novel become a carcass of bleached bones within the human mind? Analyzing fiction as one reads is becoming a lost ability—or is it? For me, fluff reading is fine in the doctor’s office waiting room or the long drive to Grandma’s house, but when I want to read a book, really read a book, I want it to be entertaining as well as sexy. Gripping and poignant. I want a novel, whether romance, sci-fi, or horror, to make me think, to make me cry, to make me go “OMG, I hope to write something this good one day.” My writing is not fluff. Sometimes there are fluffy moments in my work, usually unexpected humor, but I strive to write material that’s everything I want to read.

I don’t want to be a reading zombie.

Do you?


Please scroll down the very next post and check out my new book just released this week, or go to the top of the page and click on the New Releases page to see all my latest works.

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