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.
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