The Journal, Wednesday, 3/1

Hey Folks,

Well, I promised myself yesterday I was going to take the day off to read some pulp fiction today. So that’s what I’m going to do.

I’m even posting this way early so I’m not tempted. (grin)

I have several PF novels in the genre that most interests me and a few in my second choice. So today will be a day filled with reading.

I don’t read all the time, at least not fiction. I regularly read newsletters and Popular Science, Archaeology, and Smithsonian Magazine to broaden my non-engineer experience.

But I don’t read fiction regularly, despite how much I enjoy it and despite the advice that writers must read in the genres they enjoy writing.

With that disclaimer out of the way, all this talk about reading leads me to this:

Topic: Reader Chunkin’, Revisited

One reason I don’t read much fiction is because there’s so little good fiction to read.

By that, I mean I sit down to read, am jerked out of the experience by some inanity, and go find something else to do. Usually that something else is writing.

The last couple of days, I posted about some bad writing habits that can distract the reader.

Here’s a case in point:

I absolutely love Stephen King’s work, and I have since his Richard Bachman days.

But a few months ago, I bought his novel Under the Dome and eagerly anticipated reading it.

When I started, it was, per usual, pure excellence. I was thoroughly grounded in the work, deeply involved and invested with the characters and the situations.

Then for some reason he started using Bold and sometimes Bold Italics to emphasize certain words.

It jerked me straight out of the book.

But the story was really good, so I went back to it, certain I could just ignore the nonsense.

Nope. After two or three more occurrences, even knowing in advance they’d be there and that I intended to ignore them, I couldn’t. It was like trying to read “through” a comma or a period. Can’t be done.

Again, understand, this wasn’t me looking for something “wrong” to pull me out of the story. I was just enjoying the story when I was unceremoniously chunked out of it by the writing.

And that wasn’t some unknown writer I was trying for the first time. It was Stephen King, a writer whose previous works I’d absolutely loved.

I closed Under the Dome, thinking maybe I’d get back to it in a day or two.

That’s been a few months ago, and the book (and I’m sure, a wonderful story) is still sitting on a shelf in my office.

A thought occurs… if I had that book in PDF form, I probably would take the time to copy/paste it into a Word document, then do a global search and replace for bold and bold/italic text and remove the formatting. It would be worth it to me so I could read it.

Just sayin’.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4:20. Read some newsletters, email, Facebook. Learned I’d garnered at least one new reader. Yay.

No writing today, beyond the stuff above this. Just reading.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See the “Top 5 Things Rodeo Taught me About Writing” at I post this only because sometimes hearing the same thing in different ways drives a point home.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 500 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 500

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 151866
Total nonfiction words for the month… 500
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 37090

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 188956