A few months ago I reached the peak of my reading snobbery. It got so bad that before downloading a book onto my Nook, I'd look to see who the publisher was (approved publishers being Bethany House, Tyndale House, Revell, and Zondervon), even if the book was free. If the book was indie published or published by a small or unknown house, I wouldn't "waste my time." I'm so glad I finally got my pert little nose out of the air or I would have missed out on some terrific books...and maybe not have subjected myself to books that should have been great but made me cringe as I read them. Don't believe me that indie and small houses can put out good books? Check out Tamara Leigh and Sandi Rog.
Don't get me wrong, I can still be pretty snobbish when reading. Here are a few things that make me roll my eyes, or worse, put a book down.
I'm guilty of this in my own writing, but my lovely critique partners will highlight any similar words too close together. Professional editors should pick up when a word is repeated two or three times in one paragraph. It's like with my kids. The first time they said mama I was over the moon. My 3 year old says it so often now (read constantly!) that by the end of the day I'm ready to change my name.
Rhetorical questions are supposed to be a sign of deep POV (point of view), right? But instead it seems some authors take a statement, tack on the word "right" at the end, and turn it into a question, don't they? You can see how this can get annoying, don't you?
When I was a little girl I used to play with paper dolls. It was fun to punch out the clothes and dress the dolls by folding back the tabs along the edges. The problem was that even if you got the bases the dolls were supposed to stand in just right, 9 times out of 10 they'd still topple over.
If a character in a book in paper doll thin, he/she won't be able to stand on their own. I want to read about characters I love to love and love to hate. Characters I can relate to, even a little, or wish I was more like. For me a well-written, well-developed character will make me want to keep reading even if the story has other flaws. On the other hand, a poorly developed character...well, who wants to read about them?
I just skim long, introspective paragraphs that interrupt flow to get back to the story. Enough said.
What about you? I know I'm not the only reading snob out there. What's one of your confessions?
What's the first this that pops int your head when you hear that word? For me, the word triggers a song (nothing unusual there, lot's of words trigger songs in my head!). It's the song Cinderella sings at the beginning of the movie when she's just waking up. Her birdie friends are twittering about cheerfully and she throws open the shutters. You can see the wistfulness in her eyes as she gazes longingly at the castle in the distance and sings A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.
Now, we know the end of the story. We know Cinderella got her prince. Her dreams came true and she lived happily ever after. But what if God had said no to Cinderella? No to the dream of her heart she'd been yearning for every day from that attic bedroom?
That's where I found myself a few months ago.
The castle in the distance I'd been dreaming about so long was signing a book contract with a publishing house (okay, since it's a dream of a castle I'll admit to fantasizing about a BIG publishing house). My manuscript was done and I prayed, seeking the Lord's blessing to take the next step--querying literary agents.
The Lord said no.
Remember the scene where Cinderella is dressed for the ball and the step-sisters start tearing at her dress until she turns and runs, her hands covering her crying eyes?
Don't judge me for being melodramatic, but that's how I felt. Why would God say no to my dreams? I thought the Bible says He'll give me the desires of my heart?
Sometimes the Maker of our hearts knows them better than we do ourselves. So if God had said no to Cinderella then it;s only because He had a better dream planned for her. A prince and a castle and a life that may be completely different than she had ever imagined. In my case it was a prince I'd heard of but didn't know a lot about and hadn't considered because of it's less-than-stellar reputation. Have you guessed the new prince God has brought into my life?
I'm not going to go into all the reasons why self-publishing is a good fit for me because they really don't matter. The only thing that matters is that when God said no to one dream, he opened my heart to another.
If your heart is still dreaming and you're still believing, don't give up. As Snow White says, one day your prince will come.
Sarah Monzon is a pastor's wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn't enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn't in the world of make believe, she can be found in a small desert town in central Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.