Reading Like A Writer


I spoke a couple of weeks ago about a method I use to take the sting out of query letter rejection (here). Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to read a few books. While I await the release of Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole and Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter, I’ve selected a few free ereads.

Photo by Jessie Harrell

For a while now, I’ve been reading like a writer. Sometimes it takes the joy out of a book, other times it adds a whole new level of appreciation. This month, I read one book in each category. Overall, I enjoyed both of them. However, one author has me willing to pay money for the next book, the other not so much.

Here’s what did/didn’t work for me:

The Book I’ll Pass On

  • I have to admit, I loved the premise of this story. It was well into the genres I like. The author had a strong grasp on the paranormal creatures in the story and did a wonderful job of staying consistent with the supernatural powers in the world created.
  • There was tension and conflict in the story, but some of it felt orchestrated and much was resolved through hap and circumstance.
  • This one was a YA book and the author nailed the age and attitude, but it was a little over board.
  • The author used regional slang and clichés to the detriment of dialogue.
  • Plus, and I might be guilty on this one, the author had multiple scenes of every day things with no underlying tension. For example, the MC was getting ready for a date and that was it. No underlying emotional or mental tension.

The Book That Hooked Me

  • LOVED the heroine and the hero.
  • The voice hooked me right away. The MC is funny and relatable and freely admits her faults without out sound too self-deprecating.
  • The world building is wonderful and information about the setting is doled out in small digestible doses.
  • The supporting cast a.k.a. minor characters are intriguing in their own way.
  • I cared about what happened to the MC if she failed to reach her goal.

Have you ever picked up a free book which hooked you so well you purchased more from the author (if it’s paranormal romance, I want titles and names, please and thank you 🙂 )? What drew you in? Have you picked up one that turned you off, and if so say why (out of respect, please KEEP TITLES and NAMES ANONYMOUS)?

[Update: Look what I found. Free Kindle books here.]

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11 comments on “Reading Like A Writer

  1. I enjoyed reading this post, and I was nodding my head the whole way. Studying fiction writing almost ruined reading for me. A writer friend of mine likened it to learning the secrets behind a magician’s tricks. I agree. My book reviews got progressively more harsh (as my alter ego–I don’t review under my pen name), and my reading enjoyment diminished. But it’s getting better now.

    I can’t recall a specific free ebook to comment on–I’ve read so many, but I will say there are some jewels out there among the mediocre and the downright bad. This is the reason I encourage honest reviewing of books. It’s the only way the cream will rise to the top for others to skim. 🙂

    • Glad to know it’s not just me. Writing is hard and the more we learn about the craft the easier it is to see when authors skimp or cut corners or ‘trick’ readers. Makes it harder to suspend disbelief.

      I have found quite a few gems in free ereads and at garage sales and discount book stores which have encouraged me to go out and spend more money on a particular author. Kinda like going out for coffee before asking someone out to dinner. :0)

      • Exactly. That’s the reason I like it when authors (even a popular ones) offer a couple of books or the first in a series at a low price. I’m more willing to give a new-to-me author a try. Even within ‘good’ or ‘well-liked’ fiction, there are still variations in stories and voice. Not every reader is going to like every book.

        PS – Just saw the #NaLitChat blog button. Gonna have to swipe me one. LOL

  2. lbdiamond says:

    I agree with all your points wholeheartedly! Nice post!

  3. dawnall says:

    Oh, yes. I downloaded one that was in my favorite genre, had an amazing hook, and sounded like a great read. Then, on the first page, was a prologue type scene in italics. Page two began in the head of a new male character until the second paragraph which hopped to the head of a female character. Then a couple of paragraphs later back to the male. I quit. I don’t mind head hopping when it’s done well. When it isn’t, a great premise can quickly get lost.

  4. I love when a book does this for me. When I read Ednah Walter’s Betrayed this summer, I fell in love. Her writing is amazing.

  5. […] but then remember it’s only a fantasy world. I mentioned before that I read like a writer (here), and I’ve been paying extra attention to how authors create […]

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