Books don’t surprise me anymore.
It’s a terrifying realisation. 80% of the time, I just don’t get the wow factor.
Note: This is not to say all the time, of course. Because I recently read These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner and my jaw dropped off.
Since I’m an insane bookish goblin, I decided to figure out what the problem was.
It could be:
a) I’ve read too many books
b) I don’t vary what I read enough
c) Books are too predictable these days
d) I’m a grinchy and nasty little bookworm that doesn’t appreciate anything
e) Because I’m a writer, I’ve learnt a lot of the secrets of the trade
As much as I know you’re probably voting for d), I believe I’m suffering from e).
I’m a writer. (Surprise!) You probably read the post a few weeks ago where I squawked that I got an agent (a truly terrifying and delicious experience). But even before I landed my agent, I’ve written 11 books. I’ve rewritten those 11 books at least 3x each. I’ve done writing courses. I’ve studied writing books in school. I read with my writing brain.
I read to learn so I can write better books.
It doesn’t solve the problem of me not being surprised when I read, though.
See, I can’t turn off my writing-brain. It’s on 100% of the time. I can’t read a book and think, “Hey, maybe I’ll just enjoy this story instead of analysing what plot-points the author is using, whether they’ve had a mid-point twist, and if they’re going to come through with that foreshadowing like I think they should.”
I sniff out foreshadowing in books. I analyse the characters motives. I consider how the narrator will bring dual POV narrators together. I predict the ending (and, I’m just being honest, but often I’m right).
I recently read THIN SPACE by Jody Casella. It was an awesome book and I won’t ruin it for you — but I knew the ending. I knew it because I’d plotted out a similar book I wanted to write. It had the SAME twist! (I didn’t write said book, and I’ve mostly discontinued it now, since someone’s already done it.)
Was that plot too predictable? Or did I just know because I’m a writer and my brain works similar to that author’s?
It’s hard to draw a conclusive decision, actually. I’m always asking myself if my books (or the ones I read) are too predictable. Or if I know too much. Or if I over-think it.
But one thing I do know (very conclusively), I will never stop reading books. I’m too much in love with them. Or I’m super addicted and, heck, don’t take an addict away from their addiction.
Cait likes books. She likes them a lot. Her bookshelf overflows with these delicious articles of paper and ink. When she grows up, she wants wall-to-wall bookshelves. With ladders. Besides dreaming of the future, she’s nearly finished her sci-fi novel. Once done, she plants to celebrate with peanuts and turkey.