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Monday, July 2, 2012

What Kind of Writer/Reader Are You?

I am an impatient person. If I ask my husband to do something for me I mean I want it done NOW. Not ten minutes from now, but right this instant. If he takes more than thirty seconds to respond I just do it myself in a huff instead. If I tell my kids it is time to go they had better be in the car in less than one minute. If I have a choice to order something online for $5 from a store but it won't get her for two weeks or pay $10 at Amazon.com and get it in two days (Amazon Prime rocks!) I am going to pay twice as much to have it in two days (a little secret -  I will often even pay the extra $3.99 for next day air). When I used to watch "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" I would get so frustrated when the contestants would answer a question with their whole life story. You know, "well, my 3rd grade teacher was named Mrs. Smith and she had a farm. So, the answer is C) 3, because Mrs. Smith liked the number 3." If I had been on that show this is how it would have gone:

Regis: "1+2 =  A)2, B)1, C)3, or D)765"
Me: "C, final answer. Next question."
Regis: "Are you sure that is your final answer?"
Me: "Yes, you idiot. Just ask the next freakin' question!"

Is it really any surprise then that I am an impatient reader and writer? Not really. I have a very hard time reading overly detailed books. As an example, in "Eat, Pray, Love" I found myself skimming over whole chapters because all the author was doing was describing the country, or the food, or other details that I just did not care about. I want to know some details in a book. I do not want to know every fact that I could find by doing a Google search. Sometimes less is more.

As a writer I find that I stick to the same rule. If it is a cultural, geographical, or any other fact that I feel my reader might need to know then I will include that fact. If it is not necessary or it doesn't move my story forward than I leave it out. That is why I have had to go back to my first two chapters and add a lot of detail that was missing the first time around. I have to slow myself down, read my story as somebody who doesn't know what details are coming in chapter 3, and write for people who might have more patience than myself.

So, what kind of writer or reader are you? Are you impatient with little tolerance for details? Do you enjoy a leisurely pace that allows you to stop and smell the roses in you story? Do you like vivid, pages-long descriptions of locations? 

Keep your responses short - I don't have the patience to read them. (Totally kidding!)


  1. I think I'm fairly similar to you. I find I have to go back and add more to the setting to really give readers a sense of place. I like description but it has to be incorporated into the story for it to work, instead of long winded info dumps.

    1. My first draft of my WIP was info dump for the first two pages! I was boring myself even as I wrote. I finally decided I needed to start the story several years earlier and incorporate the information as I went along. It is much more exciting now that I can show instead of tell the reader what I want them to know.

  2. Hi! I followed you over from Ruth Josse's blog! I'm a good stalker, not a bad one, I promise! In fact, I liked your blog so much I decided I would like to give you a couple of blog awards. If you would like them, come over to www.motivationforcreation.blogspot.com to pick them up!

    As far as the kind of writer I am, I am definitely a bare bones kind of person. I think this is because I talk too much, and I don't want to write too much. It drives me crazy when I'm reading a book and the person goes on and on about the color of the azure sky or the minute detail of the clothing the person is wearing. Give me action!

    1. Thank you, Lara! I am a stalker too. I will get to that blog award when my husband leaves and I get back to regular blogging (I am currently blogging in a hotel room bed while he and my kids are all snoring).