First, let's start off the year on a "positive" note.
I "positively" thought I would be through with the revisions of my novel by January 1st. But that did not happen. I was "positively" astonished how much more work the damn thing needed and between rewriting and reordering chapters, adding new sections and thousands of words, I am only halfway through the process.
But that's okay. I'd rather put out a polished turd than an unpolished turd.
With the start of the new year and all, I mentally made my resolutions. It contains the usual: eat better, exercise, don't sweat the small shit, do what you love, write, publish, and read more.
Reading is often recommended to writers, or more specifically, reading the competition. There is a part of me that mandates if I have time on my hands, I better be writing, not necessarily reading. Reading is meant for flights and downtime, like when I'm waiting at the doctor's office, or a before-bedtime ritual assuming I can stay awake. When I do finally wrestle my guilt of not working on my novel to within an inch of its life, and actually sit down to read, I do try to read for pleasure, which coincidentally is the genre I write - romance. Insert cringe expression here.
I think romance has a cruel reputation that consists of bodice-ripping Harlequin book covers and drippy chick flick-type anecdotes. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but there are so many variations on a typical romantic storyline that can keep it from becoming stereotypical. Put simply, a romance novel usually tells a story about two people destined for happily-ever-after. Or as I like to put it, a plot-driven tale about two people who "do stuff," "have sex," and "fall in love." The word "stuff" I think is the key to the story being interesting. Why else would you read a book if it didn't have a hook?
While I don't necessarily consider my work in the same genre as "Fifty Shade of Grey," I've felt compelled to read this erotic romance novel since it's release in 2011, just to see what all the excitement was about. Trust me, I do know (wink wink), but I was curious thanks to all the hype and now the movie is about to come out.
Admittedly, I have tried several times to get into this book. I usually get one, maybe two chapters in and stop. I just can't believe anyone can stand these characters long enough just to get to some apparently hot sex scenes (haven't gotten to that part yet). If this were porn, I'm pretty sure the fast foreword button would get pushed every single time. But this week, I decided, okay, time to bite the bullet. Obviously, I need to sequester myself to get through this, so I got the audiobook for my twenty mile one-way drive to and from work. Couple minutes in and all I can say is, they did a really good job with hiring the most obnoxious narrator they could find, assuming that's what they were going for. I don't know who gave her direction with her tone, but I'm pretty sure, even with the hokey dialogue, people don't really talk like this.
The main character, for a second I couldn't remember her name, that's how uninvested I feel even after two hours of listening, is so one dimensional and whiny, if she were a real person, I'd slap her six ways to Sunday. I don't care how kinky it is, if suburban housewives are that strapped for steamy sex scenes, we live in a sad world that this book is what they have to resort to in order to quench their, um, well you know what I mean.
There is an upside to this experience though. If anything, this book has inspired me to work harder on my own novel and make sure, at no point, do my characters sound like repetitive morons. Once I am done rolling my eyes through this audiobook, I am going to focus on reading the authors that truly inspire me and enjoy the experience.
That's what it's all about, isn't it?