I’ve been reading less lately. Something about my selection or mood has just left me uninspired, so when a friend gave me a book and told me to read it, I was apprehensive. But as a good trooper, I gave it a shot. Fifty pages in, I put the book down for the night, impressed and excited, and then didn’t pick it up again for days. That pull that I’m used to feeling didn’t occur. But it wasn’t until my friend asked what I thought about the book that I realized what was different.
“I love the dialogue,” I said. “Every character has a unique voice that holds my interest. And I like that the writer isn’t afraid to dump us into the world and expect us to keep up. Too often, fantasy novels over-explain things. I also like the way the writer introduces his subplots slowly…” And then I saw what I’d been doing: I’d been reading like a writer.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with doing this. That’s part of how we learn our craft, after all. But there’s no wonder that I haven’t gotten hooked on any of the books I’ve been reading when I’ve placed them under a lens and dissected them into story arch, main and sub plots, dialogue, characters and world building.
So how do you do it? How do you remember to let go of your inner editor and just enjoy the book that’s in front of you? Help me out here. I miss reading like a reader.