So I’ve been reading books since the beginning of time. My mother was one of those who went to the library every 10 days or so and signed out stacks of books. I remember going with her. She helped me pick out some of my favorite books that I still remember. And I’m one of those readers that gets totally involved in stories. To the extent that sometimes when someone speaks to me I’m not sure where I am. And if it’s a series … forget it, I could be lost for weeks somewhere in history or the future.
I love reading.
Okay, well I USED to love reading. Right up until I started learning the correct way to write. Now when I read I’m less caught up in the story and more and more caught up in the semantics. Boooo! I don’t like it.
For one thing … I’ve come to detest “LY”. Let me begin by saying using them in writing is not wrong, but if you can avoid using an “ly” adverb and using a strong verb, it makes for tighter writing. For example.
He walked slowLY.
Becomes … He sauntered.
She spoke softLY.
Becomes … She whispered.
Now don’t get all weird on me. I know this doesn’t work every time and I’m not saying it does. I’m saying now that I understand this can be done any time an author uses an “LY” word I stop and analyze. Arrrrrgh! I hate that I do that. It’s a pain in the butt. It pulls me from some great scenes that shouldn’t be interrupted for an errant thought by an overly analytical author.
Then there are the pronouns. Sometimes you just can’t help it as an author when describing action to use HE DID XYZ … SHE THOUGHT ABC. Yes, you can use a character’s name in there sometimes, but it’s very hard for certain passages to change so you don’t continually start with the noun and then the action.
Now, I SEE it. It gives me pause. It pulls me away from my enjoyment to reassess what the author has done and to see if it could be done better. Which is really stupid when I’m reading a NYT best seller. If there were a better way, I have no doubt the author would have done it!
It’s driving me insane! Some days I’d like to just go back to a time before I was aware there were any rules and just enjoy the damn book! And now I’m curious as to whether other readers do this and how you make your mind stop analyzing and just enjoy.