Thursday, November 29, 2007

Reading Habits?

Check out PJ Parrish’s post on the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Awards. It’s only open to modern literary fiction, and this year Norman Mailer took the top prize. It’s a hoot!

My reading habits are all weird. I have tendency to lose books. They’re in the house, and I know that, but instead of searching for them, I’ll start a new one. Then I have books I’m reading next to my bed (I can’t read with the TV on, so I rarely get to read these unless DH has the TV off--HAH!), books I’m carrying around in the car (I never read in the car, so this is a sort of wishful thinking/security blanket thing), and then finally, the books I have in the bathroom.

Most of my reading gets done at Borders. In fact, when I buy books, I end up not reading them because they’re at home and no longer at Borders where I do most of my reading.

When I do read at home, it’s in the bathtub. I have a little bookcase in the bathroom. See, my house is literally my business, so the only place to kick back and read is in the bathtub.

Since I’ve taken the last couple days off of writing, I have been spending about four hours a day reading -- in the bathtub. I am a shriveled prune, but I am almost done with A Widow for One Year. By my count, this book is about 263,000 words long! Wow!

And I love every single word.

All my life I’ve written short. I am just dying to be completely self-indulgent and take more time to build my world, more time developing the characters, and more time to write the whole story.

Even though I didn’t finish my novella in time to do NaNo, I embraced the spirit of it. I ended up with more words than I needed and more scenes than could fit in under 50,000 words.

Having to cut words and scenes forced me to look at my story in a whole new way. I had to really know my story, really know what was vitally important to end the story satisfactorily.

I usually write short and flesh out, but I really liked the free feeling of writing more than I needed, then focusing it shorter.

And I made a mess. That was kinda cool. I tend not to make messes, so the process of cleaning it up was enlightening, too.

So that’s what I learned from NaNo this year, even though I didn’t get to it officially.

What are you reading habits like? Where and when do you read?

What about writing? Do you write short then flesh out, or long then cut? And if you did NaNo, how’d it go?

12 bonus scribbles:

Karen Olson 11/29/2007 08:50:00 PM  

I read on the bus to and from work. It's about an hour total. And a pure luxury.

As for writing, I used to write really short. And then my agent told me to write longer. I said I couldn't, I was a journalist. But it's amazing how the longer I'm not a journalist the longer my books are getting. Dead of the Day came in at about 80,000 words, and the next book Shot Girl came in at about 91,000. Go figure.

I don't ever do that Nanonano thing. Too much pressure.

Aimless Writer 11/29/2007 09:07:00 PM  

There is nothing better in the world then a good book and tub full of bubbles!
I have books all over the house too. People ask how I can keep track of more then one at a time...isn't that silly? I have two or three in my bed..I just had rotator cuff surgery so can't move around too much so I just store them under the pillows...maybe one in my car along with the current book on tape, one in the living room (So I can read while they watch TV), and the ones I always lose. I'll be cleaning and find one --oooo, forgot I was reading that! Then one of the books takes over my head and that one gets carried around everywhere.

Jennifer McKenzie 11/29/2007 11:34:00 PM  

I read every night before I fall asleep. It's like I don't sleep well unless I do.

Other than that, it's whenever I can since I've got kids and such.

The longest book I've contracted is 48K and the sequel to it (I just finished not contracted) came in at just under 50K.
I'd really like to write longer too. I'm hoping I'll improve and my books will get longer.

Bernita 11/30/2007 08:28:00 AM  

Like Jennifer, I read in bed, at night, before I fall asleep.
In the bathtub, I plot.
I write short.

Anissa 11/30/2007 09:29:00 AM  

I love reading in the bath. It's finally cool enough around here for me to get back in the habit. I just can't sit in hot water when the weather is above 100. Can't do it.

As for writing, I find myself changing. First novel I wrote was long. Long on lots of unnecessary, boring stuff that I spent forever cutting out. Then I found myself writing short scenes, hopping around, and going back to fill in later. Now I'm hoping my current WIP will come in around my target word count. But it'll probably be slightly short in the first draft.

Josephine Damian 11/30/2007 09:40:00 AM  

Girst, waaaay cool website and blog.

Second, I'd be your biggest customer in the chocolate/piano "bar."

What are you reading habits like? Where and when do you read?

What about writing? Do you write short then flesh out, or long then cut? And if you did NaNo, how’d it go?

Read at lunchtime while I eat. Read at night, on the couch, but NEVER in bed. Only two things should happen in bed: one of them is sleeping. This other does not involve reading. :-)

Read if I go someplace where I know I'll have to wait - car repair place, doctor's office, etc.

Write long, then cut.

NaNo? No way.

Carrie Lofty 11/30/2007 10:37:00 AM  

I write horrible, messy, bloated, wretched first drafts--generally 20K too long. The revision process means paring down. I like to think of it as a chef reducing a sauce to make it stronger and more flavorful. That's me. The chef. But dang, what I wouldn't give to get it right in a short, less painful way. But it ALWAYS happens this way.

Edie 11/30/2007 10:42:00 AM  

I started reading about 5 books (4 books this week and 1 from last). I already lost interest in 3 of them. I'm not sure where I left one that I still want to read.

My favorite place to read is curled up in my living room chair, but I read anywhere. The kitchen table, between commercials and, of course, the bathroom.

Bailey Stewart 11/30/2007 04:34:00 PM  

I have tendency to lose books. They’re in the house, and I know that, but instead of searching for them, I’ll start a new one.

My mother used to do that, but then again, she had Alzheimer's. *gg*

I prefer to read curled up in my big ol' chair in the living room. Sometimes I'll read while watching TV, sometimes not. I stick with one book at a time, unless I'm reading Kay Hooper's Bishop series, then I'll read a chapter of that and switch to something light and fluffy before going to bed.

Writing? I tend to write what comes and then fill it out or prune it down.

I'm too chicken to try NaNo.

spyscribbler 11/30/2007 04:41:00 PM  

Ooh, Karen, that is a luxury! Is Shot Girl the next one in the series? Squee!

Aimless, amen! I lose books, too. I can't read while the TV is on, or music is on. I'm not much good when there's noise or sound or music. But books under the pillows? I get that!

Jennifer, writing short is great. None of that page after page of thinking after a scene by the hero and heroine. Ick. Long is going to be fun though, don't you think?

Bernita, you're kidding! I would never have believed you wrote short! *grins* I plot in the shower sitting in the bathtub. But if I sit in the bathtub in bathwater, I read, LOL. The bathtub is the best place to plot, isn't it?

Anissa, I feel SO sorry for you, having to deal with all that warmth. *evil grins* Change is good. Change is growing.

Josephine, writing long and then cutting is my new favorite. And could you please instruct my husband on the use of a bed?

Carrie, that's a great analogy! I love it! It's sad to see some bits go, though.

Edie, that's hilarious. That's exactly how I am. I was wondering around Borders the other day, trying to remember which book I couldn't put down the day before. Then I wondered if it was really that good, considering!

writtenwyrdd 11/30/2007 10:28:00 PM  

I can't lounge in the tub any more because of really dry skin (boo hoo!) It used to be a favorite reading spot. Now it's on the toilet, at work, or anywhere around the house. I just like to read, and when I'm not reading, I'm on the computer, blogging or writing.

spyscribbler 12/01/2007 10:44:00 AM  

Oh, Written, that's sad! I would miss my baths desperately. Not even with oatmeal and oils and such?