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Looking for readers…

May 28, 2013
dad 6

In college, we would read newspapers when the visiting team was introduced. Do they still do that?

Hey Y’all,

 

I am planning a two part post about readers and writers. Today is about you all, the readers. My son is five years old and just finished Kindergarten. He can read, so I guess this post would be for him. If you advanced past kindergarten this post is for you. In my case, I spent three years in kindergarten so it is for me too. If you really care, all photos are from yahoo.

 

dad

This is how I see myself when I am watching the kids. Really, I am watching the TV.

 

On Sunday afternoon I was watching the kids. I don’t call it babysitting because it isn’t babysitting when they are your kids. I made that mistake once and my wife corrected me on the difference. It has become one of our favorite jokes. Anyway, the kids were upstairs playing quietly. I should have been concerned because quiet kids are kids who are about to get me in trouble. My wife was out visiting her mom and I had the television to myself. Almost like a dream. What could possibly go wrong?

 

dad 1

This is my excuse when my wife comes home.

 

dad 2

These are not my kids, but they are capable of making this kind of mess.

 

The dream was interrupted by reality, there was nothing on television to watch. No sports, the Indy 500 was over, the NASCAR race started late, the NBA game was on late and it was the Heat/Pacers. Can both teams lose? I love fantasy baseball but watching regular season baseball is like watching reality TV, boring. I just realized how much I miss football. I digress, so I am left with Storage Wars, Pawn Stars, and American Pickers. How tough is that? I continued my search and found the De Vinci Code movie. I stayed with it for thirty minutes before heading out and burning some wood in the fire pit. Nothing beats Redneck TV.

 

dad 3

People made fun of Tom’s hair before the movie. No one makes fun of his bank account.

 

 

dad 7

If you are going to make fun of him. This would be much better.

 

 

dad 8

My life changed when I first watched Bachelor Party. His character was my role model for life. I am glad it wasn’t on because I would never dare watching it with the kids in the house. How can a dad explain that I want to adopt a seventeen year old Pilipino girl or why a donkey in a hotel room is really funny?

 

In 2004, I lived in Ali Al Salem, Kuwait. My buddy, the real Capt. Bill Rimes found the book somewhere and he was enthralled by it. He spent days reading in, pouring over Dan Brown’s mixture of descriptions, theories, history, and fiction. Finally he gave it to me, and I read it too. My impression was that his book was okay, but his premise was intriguing. As an aside, I don’t believe the theory that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. But if he was, it has no bearing on my core beliefs nor does it affect my salvation. So I have no problem co-existing with his theory.

 

dad 5

I am going to need a new wardrobe before I hit it big. Jeans, white tee shirt and tan crocks aren’t going to cut it.

 

 

Back to the book, I found his writing to be easy to read and for the most part I was able to follow the action. There were a couple of passages that I had to re-read because his passages were not easy to comprehend. Is Dan Brown the best writer of the modern era? Of course not. Is he one of the best storytellers of the modern era? Maybe so. Think about it for a minute. He took an obscure idea about a bogus theory written in a history book that no one ever bothered to read and turned it into a story that captivated a generation.

 

dad 4

Billy looked at this picture for hours after reading the book. I spent about 30 seconds looking at it. I guess Billy is smarter than I am, because I still don’t get it all. But I did get to spend three years in kindergarten, Billy only got one year there. Maybe I are smarter?

 

My question to you, is what do you like in your fiction. Do you like the author that can take some unrelated facts and morph them into an amazing story like Mr. Brown did? Do you like an author like Ms. Rowling whose imagination can transport us to a magical world. What about an author like Mr. King who can take a basic fear and a person he saw at Wal-Mart to tell a story that haunts your soul. Or do you prefer an author who writes technically correct prose who crafts a literary masterpiece?

Next post, I will give you my thoughts on this topic and then ask another question. Until then, keep on rocking!

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From → writing

15 Comments
  1. Karlene permalink

    Rob, I love an author that can create emotion. If I can read and laugh out loud, smile, or cry while reading…they have me. I also love to be presented with ideas that I hadn’t thought about, and make me want to keep reading to answer more questions.

    By the way… I have the best “But they were so quiet” stories. 🙂

  2. The only thing worst that a quiet kid, is checking on the quiet kid. You never know what to expect when the door opens.

    Question time for you Karlene. When you speak about emotion, is that your primary goal as a reader? Are you looking to be put through the emotional gauntlet? Do you want to be on that rollercoaster the entire book or do you want moments of emotion?

    • Karlene permalink

      Hi Rob…no, it’s not my goal. It just happens. When it does, it makes me realize that the read is doing their job. To feel fear of being there during a crash. Feeling the pain of losing someone you love. Laughing because they have done something surprising and funny. Also… characters. If I love a character, I will follow them anywhere, through any journey. But to feel what the character feels is seriously the art of good writing. Even a literary work where I can be in the woods and smell the earth because of the writing. Awesome. So… I don’t look for emotion. But when I feel it, that means I’ve felt for the characters and their life situation.

      • Most excellent. I agree that if a author can bring the tension/emotion into the words, then they did their job. I read a post from another writer that said basically, the reader needs time to connect with the characters. I have not thought about the relationship between the reader/character in those terms before. But this person is exactly correct and they have given me something else to ponder.

  3. My favorite books are nonfiction, but I do love a good story every now and again.But then it kind of depends on my mood. Mostly I like fiction with meaning– more literary fiction than popular genre. But every now and again, I like a good mystery or suspense book, just for fun. But then I’m back to the intense stuff. (By the way, believe it or not, I like American Pickers– always interesting bits of history there.)

    • Karlene permalink

      Hi Julie, not to invade on Rob’s blog… but I would seriously love you to read my book. Flight For Control. While one person in Aviation said, “I wonder if any of this is true,” This in the industry know the truth. I’ve written true fiction. I had my protagonist take his issues to the nth degree, and wrapped it into our current day Airline environment. But this is a book is a thriller that reads like a mystery. I wrote it for men and women. For pilots and non-pilots. I was told that was impossible. But heck, I’ve always done what I was told I couldn’t.
      Anyway… one day the truth (non-fiction) will come out, after all three books are written. I’m thinking you might like it based on what you said. Rob… hope you don’t mind I told Julie about my book here. Thanks!! 🙂 http://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com/p/flight-for-control.html

      • No worries Karlene. Your book is near the very top of my list to get too once I finish my work. Can’t wait!

    • Julie,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I too like non-fiction, before 03/04 I read primarily non-fiction. But the seriousness of those years kind of shifted me towards fiction. I guess I was looking for more of a escape from the real world.

      Question Time for you Julie. How do you feel about Historical fiction. Or non-fiction works that read like fiction. Do you want your fiction to read more like a novel or a text book?

      • Karlene permalink

        Thanks Rob… and Historical fiction? Just finished one of the best books. The Lincoln Letter by William Martin. If it’s done well… outstanding reads.

      • Sorry I’m late in catching up with this thread. Rob, I like creative nonfiction– writers who can take help me learn and feel things from a new perspective. Creative nonfiction combines the story-telling elements of fiction with the truth of nonfiction. When done properly, I get lost in another world. One of my favorite nonfiction authors is Tracy Kidder (Mountains beyond Mountains and many others). I also really enjoy, if he doesn’t get to snarky in his tone, Bill Bryson. Anne Lamott, May Sarton, Joan Anderson are also among my favorite. When I close a book, I like to feel as if I’ve walked in another’s shoes for a bit, seen out of their eyes, and felt their world. I feel enriched and enlightened for having read their stories.

        I’ve read historical fiction I’ve enjoyed, but I can’t say it’s a go-to for me. My fiction tastes vary and I will read cozy mysteries, literary fiction, an occasional thriller or suspense. I rarely read chick lit, paranormal,romance (blech), or fantasy.

        Karlene, thanks for the invite to read your book. 🙂

  4. I enjoy a little of it all….even though I thought the DiVinci Code was kinda boring and dumb and couldn’t figure out what the big deal is. I like bad guys who are believably bad, good guys who struggle but triumph and some good wordsmithing that makes me look at the world a little different. I like a story that takes me away from everything for a few hours to the extent that when I return to real life I’m a little blurry around the edges. 🙂
    Also…check out this blog post. I found it interesting and helpful. It has nothing to do with your post, this is just the only way I had to share it with you. It’s about using songs in books and how to obtain the copyrights. 🙂 http://aerogrammestudio.com/2013/05/29/how-to-get-permission-to-use-song-lyrics-in-your-book/
    Thanks for the fun article. By the way, burning stuff is always acceptable when there is nothing good on tv….just ask my mom. 😉

    • Abby,

      Thanks for the thoughts. I hope that I am not leaving the impression that I aspire to be Dan Brown or follow in his footsteps. In reality, I aspire to be much more but if I fail and only reach the level of Mr. Brown I will not consider that a failure.

      I too like real characters who are believable. A true good guy in real life is not all good, they have some faults and will do things that some consider bad. A true bad guy is not all bad. They will have some redeeming qualities and may even do things that would be considered good.

      My goal is to make my characters believable and worthy of the time invested.

      Great link, I have some things to think about. I think your mom and I would have a great time sitting by the fire and discussing life.

      • You probably would! 🙂
        Just ask her to tell you the story about us lighting the back yard on fire cause she was one of those crazy moms who thought kids should play out side or something….this also lead to lots of war games, tomato fights, other fights, fires, ghostbuster packs, and an awesome childhood.

        I hope you do better than Dan Brown. 😉
        I will admit, I’m a fan of bad guys who are bad, and good guys who are good. What I like is a good guy who makes the wrong decision from time to time, or might be a little rough around the edges, but he does the right thing. I like bad guys who are worth being bad guys. Not blow up the world types, but worthy foes. I really liked Kahn in the new Star Trek. Very Neutral Evil. 🙂 (Yes, I did play a fair amount of DnD in my early twenties and I still tend to classify life according to Character Stats and Character Sheets. 🙂 )

  5. Erica permalink

    Hey there, Rob. Still stirring up trouble, I see.

    I don’t mind Dan Brown occasionally. Sometimes his plot points are so ridiculous, they make me laugh, and he’s certainly not the classiest writer, but he tells a good yarn. That, in itself, is a fine skill to have (well obviously, judging by his success).

    Nowadays, I try to read widely and pick out things useful for me as a writer. There’s always something to learn. (Oh, to be lost in a story, again – that would be nice.) Do you find you ‘read’ differently now that you know a thing or two about writing?

    • Hey everybody, It is Erica! Glad to know that you are still around. I hope all is well and your year of rejection is a complete failure and that you are only finding it is a year of acceptance.

      That was my point exactly, it is a talent to tell a good yarn and Mr. Brown has it. The true masters are able to combine great writing with the imagination of a child. Mr. Brown can not be considered one of the masters because of his writing but I am sure he doesn’t care.

      I have found a couple of things that intrigue me in writing and I am trying to refine my skill. Yes, I do read differently but I am not sure that I really know anything about the craft of writing. Big Joe, will have fun with that statement.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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