Monday, January 6, 2014

Reading pleasures (and I’m not feeling guilty about any of them)

As readers, we want to make a connection, to the characters and their story. This means that we have to find a way to the inside, the magic world happening between the front and back cover of a book. Our expectations of what to find, and what we need to make that connection happen, differ greatly.

I’ve realized that you learn a lot about yourself as a writer, and the stories you want to tell, if you look at the reader you are. Some readers want that identification with a character whose life circumstances, age, profession are similar to their own--their escape, in reading, lies elsewhere, maybe in the type of relationship the character is in, or the journey they take. For others, escape means characters living in a world completely different from their own.

I read (and write) a lot about characters whose world I don’t necessarily want to visit (on occasion, there are serial killers there). When the question in an interview is “Who would you want to swap with for a day?” I rather go for someone in a romance. On a good day.

As for their stories, personalities, relationships, I have some preferences that are unrelated to my personal life and, frankly, in no way logical. I admit it. For example, I love the female investigator genre. I prefer cops and PIs. I never had the desire to become one, but that doesn’t stop me from loving those characters, James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club, Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles, Jean Redmann’s Micky Knight, and so on. If the main character can’t be a lesbian, then I like it when she’s somewhat torn between two men. See, it’s not rational. I want the HEA for the lesbian character, but for the straight badass girl, I enjoy a little guy trouble. I’ve read it, watched it on TV, written it, and I can’t conclusively tell why that theme appeals to me. I don’t identify so much with the actual job they’re doing as their frustration with the state of the world. I don’t mind them being in a relationship with a man, but I do mind when there’s contempt for other women. That particular aspect can throw me out of a book very fast.

I like contrast when it comes to the main couple. You won’t find me writing a pairing with the same hair color, and there’s usually a bit of an age gap. It’s not something that always works in real life (the age gap more than the hair color), but I enjoy that in fiction. I want the big, cinemascope and sometimes unrealistic happy ending.

Sometimes it’s not about avoiding conflict or violence in fiction, but there has to be some sort of payoff, a win of good over bad. 

Do you know what kind of reader you are, and what characters you identify with most? Let me know!


  1. For me some kick-ass heroine, Kate Daniels or Jane Yellowrock would be nice. Even Sookie, LOL. I love the Dresden books, I would not mind swapping with him.

    1. Kick-ass heroines always work. I do admit though that I like reading about them...but walking in their world? I don't think I'd last five minutes alongside of Katniss or Lisbeth. ;)

  2. I love historical fiction and literary fiction, but most of the time the experiences are nothing I'd ever want to be in myself. Pretty much every point in history is harsh for women! Maybe I'd trade places with Jo in Little Women, since she's being raised by a strong woman and comes out of it with a strong character herself? Plus she gets love, gets to travel, and gets to write!

    1. Love, travel, writing, I could by convinced by that! :)