Monday, October 25, 2010

Follow-Up to Reading Day

I was just about to make a comment or two on my Reading Day post when I realized that so many of the questions were so great I’d probably be better off simply writing a new post (or two).

A couple of you made the comparison of my reading day to your beta reading or revisions, and I think you hit the mark exactly. As authors you do know what it’s like to separate your reading side from your critical reading side and read with a different eye. You also know how important it is to step back and not lose yourself in the story as you’re doing so.

Someone mentioned that she once wanted to be an agent because she loved to negotiate. I love negotiating too. There’s an adrenaline rush I get whenever I get to negotiate a contract. It’s one of the best parts of the job.

Someone asked, Do you ever read a MS for "lose yourself in the book" quality and then go back an edit?

I do when I’ve offered representation on something. I first read the book to lose myself in it, and then, if the author accepts representation I’ll read it again to edit. Over the years I’ve been able to know if the book is working and if I can lose myself in it while I’m critically reading. It really comes down to how much I’m thinking and obsessing about the book when I’m not reading. If I’m dreaming about it, it’s a good book.



Tamara Hart Heiner said...

great points! I love the part about dreaming about it. It's fascinating when a book enters every part of our psyche.

wry wryter said...

The best part of being a writer is reading.
When I'm finished with a project...are we ever really finished?
Anyway, when I'm done and read for the umpteenth time something that has been living in my head for what seems like forever and even then...get wonderfully taken in by the story..ah ha...I know it's good.
Good is great!
Good gets an agent, great gets a publisher.

Shakespeare said...

As an English teacher (and an avid reader) I sometimes get too caught up in the editing side of it. I'm reading a book for a book club meeting right now, and I'm about to tear my hair out. I just want to keep telling the writer, "Get on with it! Could something just happen? Please?"

Then again, I know my own prejudices. I love a book with a plot. I also love good moments, though, moments that stick with me long after the chapters end, like a great film scene.

M.J.B. said...

I'm going through this right now with the book I'm prepping for agent submission....I've had nibbles in the past with other books, but I want this one to be the one! That said, I'm finding the spots that don't work by recognizing which parts I'm NOT getting lost in. It's the first time I've really allowed myself to go back in and be ruthless with the cuts and changes. I want the book to sail through my mind, not make me stop and wonder at its quality. It's a fun process!