Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What do I want in the books that I read & write

I am at the beginning of redrafting my second book in my Students of Jump series.  In the process, I started thinking about what it is I like about the books I like to read.  Knowing that will help me make sure my book has those qualities.  So what is it that holds my attention when I read a science fiction novel?

1. depth of humanity:  I like my characters to show their fears, joys, fellowship to other characters
2.  activity:  I don't mind a lull especially after a heavy action or emotional scene, but I don't want the lulls to last too long, and they must have purpose.
3.  well-developed characters that I can sympathize with even if I don't like them.  I understand why they are doing what they are doing.
4. humor:  life always has moments of humor, and I want any stories I read to have it, too.  Silly moments, puns, laugh instead of cry, etc.
5.  emotional involvement: some catharsis for at least the main character
6. connection to other characters:  relationships that show the main character has family, friends, co-workers, enemies, pets.  I don't like when they exist in isolation.  Everybody has backstory and forward reconnections to others
7.  I want to see (hear, smell, touch, taste) the environment, things, actions described.
8.  Sense of local: where are they, where are they going?
9.  the fiction of science: space travel, technology in every day life, the stuff that is related to but not of this contemporary time.
10. I like to get lost in the story: (I don't mean the author dropped me off a cliff, and I have no notion of where the story is going and has gone).  I want time to go by that I didn't notice because the story caught me up and carried me away.

After looking at my list, it is clear I have set myself up for a challenge.  I had better get onto it.


Nic Bast said...

I love your list. I beleive a good book must try to immitate real life in a sense but it must add it's creativity too. My biggest pet peave is when the characters arn't developped or worked on :) Great list, this would be great for authors to follow when they write, they can go back and see if they tried to do all of these things. Good luck in your story Eldee!

L. Darby Gibbs said...

Thanks, Nic.
I know all authors try to do these things. Having the list in front of me should help.

Arlee Bird said...

Here from LinkedIn.

My reactions to your blog:

Not thrilled with blogs with dark backgrounds and light font. Especially with the smaller font, there is a rapid eyestrain response for me. The links in blue against the black are particularly bad.

Layout is very balanced and attractive.

The regularity of the blogging schedule is good. Keep it consistent.

I'm not a fan of prompts and rarely pay much attention to them. You might want to measure the response to them and see what you're getting. It may be mostly me, but I've rarely seen much response to prompts other than in blogfests.

I would recommend getting rid of the work verification. Most people find it annoying and many will refuse to leave a comment if they have to contend with deciphering those obnoxious codes. You may not even be aware that it's on. If you want to get rid of it you need to go through your blog settings and find the appropriate place to turn it off.

You're off to a good start. Good luck with it!

Tossing It Out

L. Darby Gibbs said...

Thanks Arlee,
I have made many of your suggested changes, and I am thinking about the others. I appreciate your constructive feedback.

Sandra Tyler said...

You sound like a good revisionist! I just put up my latest writing workshop link if you're interested....

L. Darby Gibbs said...

Thank you, Sandra.
I'll check it out. You probably wouldn't take a whole book. ;)