I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

My reader is broken.

Not my Kindle Fire.


My inner reader. The one I thought I had fixed with a few really good reads this year. I miss being able to pick up any book and enjoy it. I was never so picky before I became a writer.

Do you think it’s because its easier to publish on your own now, so there’s more lack luster books. Or do you think its because now I see the things that I’m working so hard to avoid in my own work?

For instance…I just finished a book that was okay. It would probably fall into the borderline smutty paranormal novel. It had some fine moments and a decent although predictable storyline. I mean, seriously, by the second chapter I knew the love interest would turn out to have a hidden heritage that would make him compatible with the woman he’s fallen in love with.

I don’t have a problem with that. There were some surprises to make up for the obvious plot lines. What really bugged me was the ending. The guy rambled on for what felt like the whole last chapter apologizing for yelling at her and being rough with her. She forgave him 4 or 5 times I think. Then it was over. The End.

Not satisfying.

At all.

Granted there is another book after this one, and there were other real life influences that already had me agitated. I’ve been stressed and tired and after losing myself in a moderately good read, it let me down in the end.

I know its subjective, but now I’m doubly worried about my ending. It has to be satisfying. I don’t want someone to finish my novel and be disappointed.

Yeah, yeah. I know. It’s the same self image issue I’ve always had. Even though I tell myself it is not my job to make everyone happy, I want to make everyone happy.


I need some good reads with satisfying endings to help me pick myself up. What do you suggest and why?


About charitybradford

Science fiction and fantasy writer and blogger. My first novel is now available--The Magic Wakes (WiDo Publishing, 2013)

Posted on August 29, 2012, in Personal Journaling, Questions. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. I think because we are writers, we're just more picky.I stress about endings. And beginnings. And the middle. Crap.When Nancy Thompson's book, The Mistaken, comes out in October, I highly recommend it!

  2. I completely understand, Charity! I've been there too, and I definitely agree with Alex, that as writers, we're just more picky. It's our job to get better and to learn tricks as we go, so when we read, if the story isn't moving along quick enough, it's all too easy for the internal editor to go crazy.If you haven't read Maggie Stiefvater's Scorpio Races yet, I highly recommend it. Everyone I've recommended it too has loved it and it's some of the best world building I've ever read. πŸ™‚

  3. Alex is right. As writers, we are more picky. But I've been reading a lot of books lately that I love, though I am a lot pickier as to what I read now. A lot of blurbs just don't interest me. Now I can relate to the agent slushpile.

  4. As others have said, I think it stems from why we read. It's really hard to read for fun when you write for work. That being said, I'm definitely able to slip in and out of 'author' mode when I read. I generally only click it on when something strikes me as being very awesome, or very bad. If it's just 'meh' I've got no trouble reading for the sake of reading. In the end, I don't think it has much to do with publishing trends. I've met plenty of folks who couldn't get through the Harry Potter books, the Hunger Games, Twilight, Dragon Tattoo, Game of Thrones, etc. and those are pretty universally successful traditional books. As readers, we tend to look for, and enjoy, different things within a story–be it technical mastery of language, a great plot, dynamic characters, a good romance, etc. The stories we love might contain one of any of those. As a writer, I think we look for all of that stuff, and probably notice a little more if anything is missing.

  5. After the query extravaganza I host the last 3 weeks over at Unicorn Bell, I really appreciate the slushpile. My eyes were dried prunes at the end of each day and it was so hard to find something constructive to say sometimes. I now get the form rejections because sometimes that's nicer than saying what they really think. :)Maybe I'm just getting pickier because I'm in deep edit mode? I'm seeing all the little things in my own work and therefore in others too. I hope it relaxes just a bit.Any book suggestions for me?

  6. Oo! Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. I love Stiefvater, but haven't read Scorpio Races. I'll definitely check it out. Thanks!Shush the editor! But only when reading. πŸ™‚

  8. Maybe it's just because I'm deep in edits? Although it's easier to slip in and out when the writing is really good. I think my real issue is I want to be THAT kind of writer. The one that the reader never thinks about at all. :)Thanks for stopping by E.J.!

  9. all factors mentioned point to loads of lack luster books to wade thru. i think before self pub/epub exploded, loads of books were getting pubbed by a flux of new agents & small publishers. now they've cut way back & it's easy to self pub. plus, being a writer, we know whats right & good, not to mention we are editors and crit each other! hard to turn that off!ps, i like your schedule, looks similar to mine!

  10. I think as we evolve as writers we DO get pickier about what we read and because it's so easy to 'publish' these days (with or without an agent/editor) the quality of what's available has dropped. I don't have a kindle so don't read any ebooks and am reluctant to do so for exactly that reason. Not that there aren't some gems out there but I have a feeling you have to dig for them or come across them by chance. Which makes me wonder, do I really want a kindle fire? Hmmm…

  11. Yeah, that is totally a writer's thing. I don't like disappointing endings either. Or beginnings. Or middles. *hmmm*I'd recommend "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. You might have an urge to go read the ending immediately after reading a particular scene in the book, but resist it. The ending is wonderful, and so is the whole book. By far my favorite for the year 2012.

  12. I've noticed that in the years since I've taken to serious writing my reading enjoyment has declined. My standards seem to have sky-rocketed and I find the most enjoyable books, for me, are ones that end up on those end of year best books of the year lists.

  13. I need to pay closer attention to those lists then. Thanks for the suggestion!

  14. Thanks! Adding this to my list. *rubs hands together greedily*

  15. One of the reasons I stopped reading when I started writing was because I knew I'd compare myself unfavorably with what I was reading. The fact that you're worried about your ending means maybe you should not read anything for a bit. Just until you get your confidence back.Or, you could try to not compare your writing to what you're reading. As for recommendations, I haven't read anything all that great lately. I'm more into trash at the moment.

  16. I didn't want an e-reader for a long time, but I've been converted. Yeah, some of the free ones I pick up are bombs, but I've bought some really great books too. It's the disappointing ones that frustrate me. It all boils down to quality control and not giving smaller or indie publishing a bad name. We can do better than this!It's a patience thing. And yeah, I barely have it, but I have enough to want this book to be the best I can make it. Okay, sorry to ramble. I guess I'm still miffed at how hard this industry is even for those of us who really work hard. *sigh*

  17. Hee, hee. That's funny you say you're into trash because the only ones I've enjoyed lately would fall into that category. The good news is that in this case I know my ending is better than the one I just read. How? Because I just finished reading my book again and felt very satisfied. There was that deep sigh moment and I'm good. πŸ™‚

  18. I agree with most everyone else. I think it's because writers have a hard time turning off their editor. We learn a lot over the years. You can't unknow something, and sometimes it can be hard to ignore technical problems in a book.

  19. There's nothing worse than a lack luster ending. I'd recommend something but the last five books I've read have all been pregnancy and baby books! Have a feeling that's not what you're looking for. πŸ˜‰

  20. Definitely NOT! LOL, not now that I've reached freedom. Babies are awfully cute, but I'll just borrow from now on. πŸ˜‰

  21. So true! It used to be easier simply because I didn't notice.

  22. I've read a couple of endings that sucked recently, and every book I do read I notice the spelling errors far more…and the grammar, the punctuation. GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH.Still, at least I can console myself with the thought that trad publishing isn't perfect.

  23. Nope. You are fine. I'm gonna send you an email because there's stuff I want to say off the record.

  24. I agree with E.J. – he made great points. Lately, I feel fortunate if I actually DO get to read – and when I do – I want to feel inspiration and excitement from the story – not dissect it (I hate when that happens).

  25. I realized after this post that my problem was "edit mode". That's where I was when I started reading and it took a while to turn off. I guess I need more time between the two halves of my life. πŸ˜‰

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