Sunday, August 18, 2013

Reading My Books Like I Didn't Write Them

You may recall back on the 9th, I put the question out there as to what I should be doing now.  All y'all were very helpful.  But I still didn't know what to do.  So, I started working on Djinn 2 - because I thought that would be the easiest.  Umm, easy to get lost reading and forget I was supposed to be editing, maybe.  Blerg.  So, I'm setting that aside for now until I can get a grip on myself and be objective. 

Right now, I'm reading my past manuscripts on my Kindle.  I'm trying to read them like I wasn't the one who wrote them.  I'm trying to be objective.  I'm trying to open my eyes and take in the whole picture instead of the individual words. 

Yeah, I'm trying to see the forest.

First up is Unequal.  I'm about 5 chapters in on the good ol' Kindle.  And I'm starting to read this like I wrote it again.  Not reading and getting lost like I was with Djinn 2, but starting to doubt how I wrote the beginning of the book rather than just reading the damn thing. 

I don't know about you, but when I read another person's book, I like getting lost in it.  Not helpful for fine edits, but excellent for catching the big things.  Know what I mean?  No matter who's book I'm reading, I notice points where I get thrown out of the story, or certain tropes that irritate me, or things that seems... I don't know... off about the story line.  Those are the exact points I want to edit out of my own story.  And those are the things that need more editing than just a misplaced period or a rewording. 

The other day I was reading a book.  It was a good book overall.  But there were whole passages where the characters were just bantering with each other.  The first time was cute - even if it didn't drive the story forward.  By the fourth banter, it was just irritating.  Yeah, I caught that in my own work yesterday. 

That's what I want to catch. 

I don't recall thinking during reading anyone else's books that maybe they brought the characters in too soon, or that they shouldn't have jumped over that plot point to get to this plot point.  Perhaps I'll need to fix that when I rewrite this, but that's a tree - not the forest.

I don't know if any of that made sense.  Maybe I'm just talking to myself via the typed word so I can get it straight in my head.  If so, thanks for following along with my little bit of insanity. 

How about you?  Do you ever try to read your own writing like you weren't the person who wrote it?  Does it help you?


  1. I always get lost in my books. Even after reading them a bazillion times! Guess that's a good thing, though, right? Of course, it's not so good when you're supposed to be looking for mistakes (or having to cut a character out - ouch).

    I guess if you're not getting lost in your own work, that should tell you something. There probably IS a problem with the story. If you're stopping, what makes you think an unbiased reader won't?

  2. Reading my own stuff is infinitely harder because I have a tendency to be hyper-critical. I can still reread Faerie Fate (my first published novel) and want to immediately rewrite it. At some point, though, we--as writers--have to let go. To let someone else take a less biased look at our work. Yes. We must learn to see the forest instead of the trees. Though....if a log crashes in front of us, we probably need to fix that. ;)

    If I can get lost in my writing and forget to edit, I consider that a huge win. Headed to Tabula Rasa now to read the beginnings of Djinn 2. :D

  3. I reread my work after a significant space of time. It helps me look at it more objectively.

    When I edit, I leave it for at least two weeks before I reread. But before I send it to a publisher, I try to let it sit longer than that if time permits.

  4. I tend to forget a lot of what I write, so when I re-read it, it's new to me, lol.

    Reading my work aloud is helpful to get a fresh perspective. It really helps to hear rhythm and flow issues.

    Good luck! It's hard work.