For the past two days I've been reading an older fantasy novel, Elminster, by Ed Greenwood. My husband's been reading this series and in his telling me bits and parts, it intrigued me enough to say, "let me read when you're done."
As a teen-ager, I mixed my reading between the mass market historical romance and the Dragon Lance and the like fantasy novels (quite a mix, huh?), so reading fantasy is nothing new to me. Still, it's been a long while.
I like the Elminster story, but early on I noticed that reading this book is providing me with excellent reader-exercise. I don't know about you, but most of the time when I read, I tend to "rush read." I get a feel for what's going on and the characters and etc., and even though I will read word-for-word, I seem to digest the story more in whole pictures than through the entire written word.
I cannot read this current story in this fashion. Part of it is Greenwood's style, but if I try to whole picture the page, for example, I'll miss important or cleverly written little phrases, words or even twists of temperaments. I have to focus in a different way to absorb this story. I'm sure if I read fantasy novels as much as I read romance I'd be able to "rush read" there as well, but since I don't, I like that I am having to make myself adjust my reading habits in order to grasp every nuance.
Of course, with every book I read, I try to figure out how what I've read effects my writing. Did the writer's dialogue or narrative attract me and how can I make my own dialogue better? Are the descriptions memorable and how can I make my own scenes more memorable? Does the author write in ways that are jarring and do I write jarring passages as well? How can I fix, adjust or make better my stories?
I haven't quite figured out how Greenwood's stories have or will effect my take on my stories, but I'm sure it will. In the meantime, I'm back off to magic and sorcery...
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