Reading, Writing, and ... No, Just Reading and Writing

I can now say I have read the entire Twilight series. And enjoyed reading it. But I'm not going to get into a long, drawn-out, detailed, element-by-element comparison between Twilight and Harry Potter, as I've seen happen waaaaaay too often in the forums devoted to such. On my list, Harry wins. Hands down.

As a writer, I tend to be - at least subconsciously - more critical when I read. I'm reading our church book club selection, and it's a lovely book, but I almost threw the thing across the room when the author described this particular Veteran's Day as one of the warmest of October. What went through my mind at the time was, how did the author make that mistake and nobody catch it?

Because my Wonder Twin is about to release her fifth novel, I've learned a bit about how the whole manuscript-to-book process works. At least four people (sometimes more) read the thing before it goes to print. Could one of these four not have fixed this glaring error? (To be fair, it may only be glaring to me, considering I'm the daughter of a veteran, but still. Look at a calendar, for Pete's sake.)

Our critique group has an unwritten list of rules for writing well. One of these rules is, Variety is Queen. Especially when it comes to adjectives (which are not evil, really). Don't use the same word to describe something over and over again, or even different somethings ... for instance, do you have any idea how many synonyms there are for the word 'good'? The late, great George Carlin used to do a bit about 'nice' - "He's so nice, and she's so nice, and they're so nice together, and isn't that nice?" And from one of my fave movies, Pretty Woman: "I'm fine." / "That's seven 'fines' since we left the match. Could I have another word, please?" / "[Expletive]. There's a word." / "I think I liked 'fine' better."

Maybe I'm hypersensitive, or hypercritical. Maybe it's just ingrained in my psyche from being in my fabulous writers' group. But when I read books that break our rules, I cringe. Not that I always follow them, either, but just as there are unwritten rules with our group, there also seem to be unwritten exceptions. Not always, but sometimes.

Today I'm reading more than I'm writing. I added 3000 words to the WIP over the weekend, most of which will constitute my 10 pages to take to group Wednesday night. I'll be out of pocket tomorrow evening, so I'll probably print those 10 pages today so they'll be ready. That small burden lifted leaves me time to finish this book club selection as well as catch up a bit on my saved industry articles I've been promising myself I'd read.

Sigh. So much to do, so little time.

What are you reading?

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