I Don’t Read Anymore

I mean, I do read. But when I read a book now (since becoming serious about this writing and publishing thing) I find myself not just reading. I’m analyzing. Dissecting. Questioning. I look at the author’s use of point of view, the story structure, how smaller subplots are weaved throughout. If a line of dialogue or description speaks to me I’ll highlight it or write it down in a notebook I keep for such things. Not that I’m going to use it in my own work, but other words simply inspire my own.

I just finished Jodi Picoult’s novel Change of Heart. This is only the second time I’ve read her work. I usually avoid it because of the amount of tears they invoke. It can get awkward crying like a baby while sitting in carpool with teenagers walking by staring. Yeah, daughter #1 loves to have those kind of things spread around her high school campus. But I picked up Change of Heart yesterday at the library (yes, yesterday. I read it less than a day. What of it?) and devoured it. Not for the plot or well written chapters. To be honest they shifted abruptly and I found the points of view not consistent in length. One character’s POV was short; the next, pages long. Not for character development either, because I could have cared less about most of them except for Lucius, an inmate sharing death row with our main character. He was intriguing, but not the reason I kept reading.

I kept reading because my author’s brain was looking for something. Something that I usually find in every other book I have ever read. When I realized that Jodi Picoult had left it out in this book I was floored. I had to share it with somebody and my best friend is on a cruise so here I am, sharing it with you. The thing Picoult left out of her book Change of the Heart is … are you ready? She left out the main characters point of view.   O.o   Seriously. Shay Bourne, the man in prison for murder, doesn’t have a voice in the entire book! And yet, through her other character’s points of view we know Shay.  Mind blown.  I was halfway through the book before I realized it.

Maybe there are tons of books out there with this kind of structure, but I honestly don’t remember reading them. Of course, back then I was just reading for entertainment. Now I read with a different eye. What are your thoughts? Have you read this book or any other book that does this? Am I late to the party without a clue? Let me know.

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To kill or not to kill

When I first met Jason I really wanted to kill him. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he was a good guy and all. Musical, smart, beautiful, and Southern. There was A LOT to like about the guy and everyone who met him loved him. I did, too. But I just thought it would be better if he died so I shot him one rainy evening. He tried to hold on a bit longer but the bullet had done its damage. He suffered but finally died in the arms of his love. It was tragic and beautiful. But then my editor said I could absolutely NOT kill my male main character. *Pout* So I re-wrote the ending to my first novel and she’s right, Jason had to live and I’m glad he did. The world does need more good guys out there, right? Especially since Jason stumbled upon a government cover-up. Think Eric Snowden but with more of a plan and handsomer. Here is a picture of Jason:

jason2 henry_cavillYes, I know. His real name is Henry Cavill. AKA Superman. But I found him before all that. He was my Jason long before he donned that red cape. Having a picture of my main characters helps make them real, helps me write, helps me figure out where they are going next. So, yeah, looking at that dimple now, I see that killing him would have been a shame.

But sometimes the endings aren’t Happily Ever After. Nicolas Sparks obviously has stock in Kleenex. Jodi Picoult, the author of My Sister’s Keeper, can create tears from others with less than five words.  The popularity of their books leads me to believe that sometimes killing is okay, even necessary. Sometimes a death brings about a much needed change in another character, something that spurs the story on, even changing it’s direction. I do understand that people read to escape reality, to have a happily ever after in their dreams. But sometimes, just sometimes, don’t you want a little tragedy, too?

Dead Man Down? Have you seen this Colin Farrell movie? OMG – again, support Mr. Sparks and get those tissues! Broke my heart into a million pieces. Crying and runny nose with my husband glancing over making sure I was going to be okay. It was sad but you know what? I freakin’ LOVE that movie! Yes, the acting was amazing, the story line was riveting and there was a good amount of gun handling of which husband approved. But the tragic ending made it memorable, something I won’t soon forget. Does that make me a masochist? No, just a writer that likes variety, something more than the fairytale endings so many are used to watching or reading.

If you haven’t heard about Game of Thrones and you like your HEAs please crawl back under your rock. There is so much uncertainty about the longevity of it’s main cast the actors have to check in with security every morning to see if they are still wanted on the set. There is even a parody on YouTube:

 

So what about you? Do you like it when a character is killed off or do you want to see that Happily Ever After?