Wednesday, January 6, 2021

IWSG: January 2021


 We're finally here in 2021, though not much has changed from last week. Some things staying the same is good like the IWSG. Still led by our intrepid founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, we can share our woes and victories monthly. Find the entire list of participants here. Not to say the IWSG is in any way static. Lots of things going on all the time like the Twitter Pitch coming up on January 20th. Get the details on this page.

As I did last month, I apologize for not visiting more blogs. I've had to have my comments on moderation for a while. I was going to undo that this month, but sure enough there were four spam comments among the rest.

This month's question:

January 6 question - Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books?

I love this question. First and foremost for me is liking the voice of the author and then liking the characters. If I don't care for the main character, I put the book down. If I don't like the voice, I not only put that book down, but I won't pick up another by that author. I'll usually give an author up to 100 pages if those two things suit me. After that, there has to be something happening by page 100. It can be action, suspense, mystery, or romance, but it has to be something. Reading page after page of a character's internal thoughts will put me to sleep. One last thing that will throw me out of the story early is a YA book where the teenagers don't act like teenagers, either too mature or too immature.

On my own writing front, I finally finished my WIP on New Year's Eve. My husband fell asleep so I wrote and wrote while sipping champagne. Haven't gone back to look at it yet, but I don't think the bubbly had too much influence on my writing. Like many of you, we celebrated alone.

I worry about my family and friends, including the virtual friends, with all that is going on. Not just health wise but financial distress also. I hope you all can get the vaccine soon if you're willing to take it. I believe I'll be in the last group to get it. My husband is older than I am, and all my children work in jobs that are considered essential. Stay safe in the meantime.

One of my sons bought me a terrific jigsaw puzzle for Christmas. I'll post a picture when I'm done. It's very relaxing to work on such a difficult puzzle. I've read a lot of books recently so feel free to send me some recommendations. I love the library but they've had to cut hours recently for financial reasons. 

TV is no fun. I'm looking forward to the return of Prodigal Son and Evil. The Expanse is giving us a new episode on Amazon once per week but that won't last long. They only have ten episodes per season.

Hope there is some positivity happening in your neck of the woods.

"I dwell in possibility." Emily Dickinson

What makes you put a book down? Did you down your champagne alone on January 1st? Ready for a Twitter Pitch.





38 comments:

  1. Happy New Year Susan, hope it will be better for you. I had some spam comments a while back but pleased to say they have sptopped.
    Take care and keep well.
    Yvonne.

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    1. I'm down to about four spams per post. Getting better but not yet gone.

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  2. The right balance for YA is a difficult one. I agree with you though. I don't like the too immature dialogue and I don't like too old either.

    New Years was a lonely one for me too. Just me and my honey. We watched all the Indiana Jones movies. Yes, I work in education and I will definitely being getting the vaccine. I am nervous about it, but if my doctor says yes, I will believe in her decision. I love puzzles too. It's nice to have your mind busy. And congrats on all of your writing!

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    1. Thanks, Erika. Stay safe. Teachers have always been exposed to more germs than anyone but health care workers. Stay safe.

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  3. I love that image of you writing away while sipping bubbly. Wishing you a happy New Year and a quick trip through the vaccine line. I'm in the last group that will receive it. For once, being young (ish) isn't so great!

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    1. Yes, I'll be in the last group also. It has been a while since I've been 'too young' for anything.

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  4. We always celebrate alone at home, so no big deal.

    We're low-risk so I'm hoping by the time it gets to us, the virus will have faded (like they historically all have around 18 months) and we won't have to get the vaccine.

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    1. We usually go out with the family for an early dinner but are home by midnight. No indoor dining this year though, so we ate at home.

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  5. We still have the first season of Evil to watch, but we're happy Prodigal Son is coming back soon. We've been watching Justified - never saw it when it was first on - and really enjoying it. :)

    If you're looking for book recommendations, I did a post last month about my five star reads for 2020. My first book for 2021 was another winner - THE NOTHING MAN by Catherine Ryan Howard.

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    1. I watched Justified when it was on. It was great! And I enjoyed Evil. I've rewatched it since it came out on Netflix. Thanks for the book recommendations.

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  6. You are good to last a book out to 100 pages before tossing it aside. I'm usually done at about page 25 :) Good for you for finishing your latest work in progress! Intrigued about that puzzle; always good to have something to keep your mind occupied especially during these times :)

    (I'm on a blog break from blogging but still reading posts, so nothing new at my neck of the woods and I made my blog private so I wouldn't get hit with scammers.)

    Happy New Year!

    betty

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    1. Happy New Year back to you, Betty. The puzzle is so much fun!

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  7. Glad you finished your story!
    Financial distress worries me just as much. We're blessed, but others aren't.
    I'm watching West World and Lovecraft Country right now. They are growing on me.

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    1. I've been really tempted to try Westworld. I remember the original movie. I think I watched the first few episodes. It has a big creep factor.

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  8. Hi Susan, I too am a big fan of a writer's voice and If I like a character, I'll follow them till the last page.

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    1. The voice is what prompts me to try a book. I have a few authors that I will read whatever they write because of their voice.

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  9. Completing a draft sounds like a great way to celebrate New Year! Congrats. Yes, YA characters can be tough to get right. I've learned that since moving into that area and I'm still trying.

    I hope your 2021 brings good things. We have a new virus variant in the UK so we're back to square one with a full lockdown. At least the vaccines are getting out there now.

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    1. There are probably more curve balls coming from this virus. I hope you stay safe. Full lockdown is not fun but getting sick is worse.

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  10. I have been enjoying The Expanse so far this season, but I don't want to binge-watch it because then it will be over.
    Have you tried Cobra Kai? It's pretty cheesy, but it's a fun redemption story for Johnny Lawrence from The Karate Kid series.
    Have fun with the puzzle and writing into 2021!

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    1. I have not tried Cobra Kai. I might since you recommend it. The puzzle is great!

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  11. Congratulations on finishing your WIP! What an excellent way to spend New Years Eve!

    My favorite books are the ones where I've connected to the characters in some way.

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    1. It really did brighten the new year to type The End. I hope it doesn't take as long to type the next one.

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  12. I agree with you that the characters have to be likeable and the plot has to move along. I need it to do that by 50 pages.

    Congrats on finishing your manuscript! What a great accomplishment.

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    1. I do try to give a book longer than fifty pages, but there are occasions where I can't. An unlikable lead character is the worst.

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  13. Congrats on finishing -- and what timing. Bonus points! A personal turn off for me in a book is an overly macho MC -- male or female. It's been done so much, it's cliché.

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    1. That is a good one. Yes, the macho lead used to the usual, but it really doesn't fit into today's expectations.

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  14. Voice is essential. Some authors have such a powerful and compelling one that they pull you in from page one and don't allow you to leave until the last page is turned. I want one of those.

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    1. Exactly. Well said, Lee. I want to write like that too, not just read it.

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  15. I like the 100 page rule. I used to do that and then got impatient. Great point about voice. Yes, it is so darn true.

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    1. The older I get, the more impatient I get with books. 100 pages is my cut off though if the book is short, I'll probably give it less than 100.

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  16. My new year's eve was lonesome as well. I saw a live stream on youtube of New York City's Time Square, so hubby and I watched that to ring in the new year. I laughed at how different it looked compared to previous years.

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    1. I don't even remember what I was watching. I think I had Netflix on, but I was busy writing and only using it as background noise.

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  17. Interested in your comments about voice, Susan. It’s the characters who do it or otherwise for me.
    Well done on writing through New Year. Hubby clearly missed out.

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  18. He did miss out! But at least I had peace to write in. LOL

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  19. Congrats on finishing your WIP on New Year's Eve! I was like your hubby--I fell asleep a little after 8.

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  20. Great job on finishing up the WIP. If a book doesn't grab me well within the first few chapters, i just can't finish it, either.

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  21. Happy New Year, Susan. Like you, I've been reading a LOT. Just finished Veronica Scott's latest Badari Warrior book, Jamokan. If you haven't read the series, it's great. I don't give a book 100 pages. It had better grab me sooner than that.

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  22. Writing for any character and then not making them at least reasonably how they should, teenager or not, can be eye roll worthy. Not much on tv indeed these days.

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