Cheryl Van Eck:
A few weeks ago I had to employ the 50 Page Rule on a book by a beloved author because the book was, well, terrible.
The 50 Page Rule is this: If I hate a book after 50 pages, I get to put it down forever, no guilt allowed.
By the way, the childhood version of this is the 2 Chapter Rule. I never make a child read more than 2 chapters of a book.
The reason I do this is simple. Bad books slow me down. It takes me a hundred times as long to read a bad book as a good book. I’m not sneaking a chapter in here or there, I don’t wake up desperate to get to the next page, and I swear my actual hourly word count is significantly slower.
If there was an infinite amount of time to read and a finite number of books, then sure, I’d put in the work. But it’s the reverse. And with so many brilliant books out there, I simply can’t waste time on bad books.
Went grocery shopping today. By myself — my husband and I usually share the chore if we’re out and about. I had a list. I had a couple of things I KNEW I needed but hadn’t added on yet. The Hubby had requested a couple of items which one or the other of us had written down. What slowed my process down the most? I could not find the parmesan cheese — one of his few requests. Oh, it was there, but I couldn’t find it. It turned out to be in a very narrow shelf unit near — surprise! — tons of canned spaghetti, dry pastas, etc., etc., etc. Right where it should be. It was only three shelves (slightly below my eye level), one-and-three quarters of which were totally bare. It took me three trips down that aisle to “find” it.
Wasn’t shopping years ago easier? Fewer weird-o products, more room for items I would consider ordinary if not staples, no 500 competing brands of essentially the same product. We have more choices now? Maybe. Or just more confusion. Indecision. Hunting through all the junk to find the gems you’ve relied on for years.
How old is your MC? Does s/he do any shopping? What does s/he have trouble finding? What happens if s/he can’t find an important ingredient or something special a special person in his/her life requested? What would a shopping trip reveal about the MC?
Off this weekend.
So much to do before now and the middle of July when I plan to come home and JUST read.
But no cleaning.
Three books to be finished before July’s end.
And a draft of the book Ann Dee and I are working on (that I haven’t written in some time).
What are you doing to write like a writer?