Do you want to escape?

Get out of your head

As a reader, I want to escape into a story and don’t want to return until I absolutely must. This kind of escapism is not unusual. Life is not ideal. We can’t always afford to take ourselves away from the life we have. Books and movies give us a more affordable way to live a different life, if only for a few hours. When we escape like this, the last thing we want is to be dropped out of our fantasy world and brought back to reality with a thump.

When editing, my job is to look for things which will drop a reader out of the story. Some of these can be:

  • spelling, grammar and punctuation errors;
  • characters acting ‘out of character’ or stupidly;
  • inconsistencies;
  • awkward phrasing, lack of clarity;
  • breaking the rules of the story world;
  • breaking the rules of the genre (killing the hero in a romance story).

These and others are dangerous to the career of the writer because once a reader is ‘dumped’ out of the story, they might:

  • remember all the things they should be doing instead of reading;
  • get so frustrated they throw the book at the wall; and/or
  • never forgive the writer and write them on their blacklist.

Think you know someone?

Reading list

What is your reading list like? Do you stick to your tried and true authors and genres or are you like a tourist, roaming at will, trying new things, seeing how other people use the same words in different ways?

I firmly believe that to look into your library, the books you call ‘keepers’, gives great insight into your likes and dislikes, interests (or lack thereof), personality, level of tolerance for violence and vices. Is there a mix of fiction, non-fiction, travel, reference, etc? Do you own a dictionary? Thesaurus? How much love do you put into your library?

Even beyond the actual content of the books in your library, is the state of the books, their ages, how they are arranged, dogeared (or not), presence or absence of margin notes, markings, doodles or highlights…

What would my library tell you, you ask? My library is either famous or infamous among my friends, I can’t tell which, though I’ve been told more than once it’s a good place to spend time. Well, I think so. I have many good friends, old friends and acquaintances in there.

Sectioned and arranged by genre and type, fiction here, non-fiction there, books about writing, references I use when writing my historical books, children’s books, poetry, puzzle books, travel guides, dictionaries, thesauri, old books and new books lovingly read and reread, collected and treasured. Shelves of books autographed by friends.

Recent changes in our household have meant saying goodbye to some of my ‘babies’. My library can’t possibly house as many as I need it too. I miss them already and I’m sure I’ll want them back sooner rather than later.

I’d love to hear about your library. Please leave a comment below.