My reading experience is different when I'm actively writing. I just catch the 'tricks' more. I can tell when the author is actually making an effort.
So for instance, I like reading quick thrillers, John Sandford, Lee Child, Daniel Silva and the like. But I'm noticing just how....lazy...they are. They're mailing it in. I still read the books, but I can tell they're not making much of an effort.
Meanwhile, I started reading Lies of Locke Lamora, which I had heard good things about, and...well, it's a bit 'over-written' -- that is, I think the author is making too much of an effort. It's distracting.
I tried reading the latest Frederick Forsyth book. Now I loved Day of the Jackal, long ago, but this newest book was shit. Moronic right wing politics, card board characters, recycled plot.
I started reading Olen Steinhauer spy novels, and...I can tell that he's trying really really hard to have both hard-boiled spying and domestic drama, and the domestic drama is just...boring and stupid and completely unnecessary.
I don't mean to be over-critical. I don't want to be over-critical. I just find it harder to find books I want to read all the way through. I'm just way more conscious of the plot and the characterizations and I can tell what they're trying to do and it just makes it harder to sink into the story and enjoy it.
When I wrote my first book, Star Axe, it was even worse. I didn't read for months, almost a year. I finally forced myself to start up again.
In the interim, the 25 years when I wasn't writing, I was more critical of the writing than I had been before I had the experience of writing a book, but I eventually relaxed and quit being so conscious.
Now I'm having trouble just enjoying the experience again.
I think it's just one of the costs of being an active writer. I see the backstage machinery.
6 days ago