Why do we read what we read? What are the elements of a good story?
The latter part of last year when I bought my Nook and had the option to download lots of free stories, I found an author that hooked me and made me want to read her book. It wasn’t because she had created an error free book, or that her character arcs were well drawn. There were mistakes and she admitted that she wrote the first book on a dare. But she had compelling characters (even though their emotions got tiresome in their lack of realistic emotional growth).
All the vampire series on TV and in the theaters were hot, but I was not particularly drawn to them. I was more fascinated by the shape-shifting werewolves. That’s how I came upon this book and read it as a lark—because it was free.
So what drew me in and kept me reading? That is a question I have been asking myself.
I’m reading a series now that is heavily weighted with military information—men’s love—including guns, planes, ships, military equipment of all kinds. But I’m not reading for that (my eyes glaze over while skimming those parts). The characters are not that well drawn, especially the women—male author. But that is not keeping me from reading. So why am I reading this series? I was into the author’s conspiracy, UFOs/alien, secret government theories. Hot!
I also branched out into reading many romance authors this year—unlike the ones I read years ago that were too predictable and unsatisfying in the long haul for me. Since I have romance in my first novel (waiting for publication, tapping fingers, waiting. . .) and includes past-life time slips, I thought I’d better read some authors that are writing the same genre to see what they are writing and what categories they are being put into. I happened onto an English author that has some past life drop-in, time travel, romantic suspense—right down my alley. And, very well written. Ahhh.
I love the way she handles her characters—well drawn and compelling. The romance is lovely and just that—romance—not hot sex (not that that’s a bad thing—rewind to werewolf series above). These were love stories. Present day and a past life in
As never before, it is easier and cheaper to access books. People are reading more, whether well written or not. (I’m not touting poorly written books because if the writing interferes with the story flow, I’m out of there. I don’t want my fictive ‘dream’ to be interrupted.)
So what drew me in and kept me reading these three very different genres, author styles and emphasis? While some of the writing was poorly edited, some characters not well drawn still I read and enjoyed them.
I think I read for different reasons at different times. Sometimes I want to sink into a tear jerking romance that involves my emotions and my heart. Sometimes I’m in a more paranoid phase and want to read about conspiracies and sci-fi possibilities. At other times, a good romp with the creatures of imagination is in store. Throw in some non-fiction (inspirational, instructional or biographical) and I’m good.
But, I am trying to pinpoint why readers read what they read. So I'm asking for your feedback, what is at the heart of a good book for you—what do you read and why?
Do you think the easy access to books is making readers read books they never would have read before?