2014 hits the ground running and other writerly thoughts

I apologize for my lack of updates. The happy madness that was my success with NaNo collided with real life about mid December. The end result was my setting all writings aside to prepare to move into our new place at the beginning of January. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if not for that winter storm that dumped all the snow on the East Coast. And the plummeting temperatures. Despite this, I was amazed to discover that there really is a difference between 10 degrees and 16 degrees F- so long as you’re bundled up.

While I am mostly settled in the new place, I have taken a small break from writing. I’ve also entered the reading phase of my write a lot/read a lot cycle. The real challenge here is finding something that’s A) well written, B) interesting and C) appealing. The last book I read was The Man Who Forgot His Wife by John O’Farrell. It was part of a four-story collection we received from Reader’s Digest. Of all the ones included in it, this was the only story worth my time. It was written in a simple, straightforward style that didn’t try too hard to be something it wasn’t. There was also a noticeable lack of ridiculous description. You know, the sort of turn of phrase tacked onto an otherwise workable sentence.

I’ve got nothing against sentences like this. When used properly, they can really make a scene come to life.

‘His eyes flashed like silver daggers in the moonlight.’

‘When he took a step, it was as if all the world trembled at the very echo of his approach.’ 

‘She clawed at his arm, bringing to mind the image of a ferocious lioness defending her cubs.’

The downside to them is they can get real old, real fast. When I see a narrative weighed down with sentences like this, I spend more time rolling my eyes instead of enjoying the story. Simple is often best with me, even in non-fantasy settings (sentences like this are very popular in the genre). Give me a good, stimulating story like David Morrell’s Creepers or any of the books in V.C. Andrews’ Dollanganger Series. Or how about Out by Natsuo Kirino? All fantastic reads, without the sense of pretentiousness. That’s what I need more of in my library.

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