In WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maass (Love all of his craft books. Seriously. Go read them!), he says that you shouldn’t necessarily write what you know, but what you care about. “If you don’t know, you’ll find out. But if you don’t care, why should anyone else?” (3).
I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to “quit” anything—especially books. I’ll hang in there until the end, even if I’m struggling to keep the pages turning. Right now, though, I have about 75 books in my “To Be Read” pile—including on my Kindle. Between the day job and writing, I only have time to read 35-50 books a year (on average). (Yes. I keep track of the titles. I’m OCD like that.)
I never understood why people would abandon books before the end—but I’m beginning to see the appeal. Right now I just don’t have the time to invest in a book that doesn’t capture me from the first few chapters.
Obviously, what captures one person might not necessarily capture the next—I realize this is totally subjective. I also realize that, by “not hanging in there,” I might miss out on some real gems. Still….
In perusing the list of titles I read last year, I easily remember which books I struggled to get through and the ones where the pages practically turned themselves.
A few of the ones I struggled with were well-plotted and well-written, but I wasn’t necessarily rushing back to the Kindle (or shelf) to pick them up. On the flip side, I recently finished a story that could have been edited better, but had me completely sucked in—and I mean “bathwater running cold” sucked in.
I cared about the characters and what happened to them.
Again, this concept is highly subjective, because the things I care about you might not care about, and that’s okay. But, as writers, this is something that should always be at the forefront in our minds—it’s something I continue to work on.
Because if I don’t care, why should I expect my readers to care?
Katie Klein is a diehard romantic with a penchant for protagonists who kick butt. Her YA contemporary romance, Cross My Heart, is an Amazon Teen Top 100 Bestseller and was a 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for Best YA Fiction.
She’s bouncing between three books right now—one that’s turning its own pages, and two she’s trying *so hard* not to give up on. No, it’s not your book, so don’t worry. :)
You can find her on the web at www.katiekleinbooks.com, http://katiekleinwrites.blogspot.com/, or https://twitter.com/#!/katiekleinbooks.