8 Popular Books I Couldn’t Finish

Everybody has different tastes when it comes to books. I enjoy mine, and you enjoy yours. Nothing wrong with that in the least. But just for kicks and giggles (probably more kicks than giggles), I’ve compiled a list (in no particular order) of eight hyped and/or popular books that everyone else seems to love that I couldn’t even finish.

Disclaimer: this is (obviously) merely my opinion, and yours may (invariably) differ. That’s no reason for anyone to get upset, so let’s all behave like grownups. 

Disclaimer 2: for a book to qualify for this list I have to have at least tried to read it. Therefore, books like Maze Runner don’t count because I know I wouldn’t enjoy it and do not intend to try. I’m just stubborn like that. 

#1 Divergent, Veronica Roth

I’ve tried. Believe me, I have. The first book is sitting on my bookshelf in my room where I see it every day. I’ve picked it up and started the first chapter about five times now. It’s just not happening. I’m sorry, but I find it…boring. There’s no other way I can describe it. I’m sure it gets better, but I haven’t yet been able to make it past the first five or ten pages without losing interest.

#2 The Wheel of Time (Series), Robert Jordan

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love fantasy books. It’s my favorite genre by a mile. But this…I just couldn’t stay awake. Literally, at times. I received the first book as a gift and really gave it my best shot, but it takes. So. Long. To. Get. Moving. I’m patient, normally. I don’t mind investing a few chapters in build-up if the writing keeps my interest. But this…this felt like watching molasses drip down the wall.

#3 Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton

The reason for this one is simple: I’m dumb. You can’t expect me to keep track of so much science mumbo-jumbo. Sorry. I mean, it takes a lot for me not to enjoy a book about dinosaurs running amuck in the present day. But I made it about 100 pages before giving up on Jurassic Park and putting it down. If I had a couple dozen extra degrees in the sciences I’m sure I would have stuck with it.

#4 Mistborn (Series), Brandon Sanderson

I tried so, so hard to get into the Mistborn series. Several good friends have recommended them to me multiple times, and again, fantasy is my favorite genre. I don’t own any of the Mistborn books, but I have had a chance to start reading the first one, and…kind of the same deal as The Wheel of Time. It moved too slow for me and it felt too grand (an odd complaint, I know).

#5 Pretty much any classic novel

I may draw a lot of fire for this one, but give me a book by Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Robert L. Stevenson, Harper Lee, Jane Austen, etc., and I’ll probably just chuck it out the window. I mean no disrespect to the undeniably successful authors of the past, but holy cow these books are a chore.

#6 The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien

I enjoy The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Not my all-time favorite, but they’re a fun read. So I don’t quite understand why I don’t like The Hobbit very much. It’s not the different style, or the simpler plot. It’s just…not my cup of tea.

#7 Prince Caspian, C. S. Lewis

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Chronicles of Narnia (The Horse and His Boy being my favorite of the series). But so many Narnia fans seem to think Prince Caspian is one of the best books, and I just don’t get it. It’s boring. In fact, it’s so boring that I don’t even have anything else to say about it. (Cheating a bit, because I did finish the book, though only out of necessity to continue the series).

#8 Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

I know this book is probably far less popular than the others on the list, but I’ve included it mostly because of how surprised I was that I didn’t like it. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. I loved The Graveyard Book, Stardust was a beautiful story, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a tear-jerker. So when I bought Neverwhere at the bookstore and only made it through a few pages before utterly losing interest, I was quite shocked and quite a bit more disappointed.


If you made a similar list, what books might be on it? Comment below! And in the meantime, have a great day!

10 Incorrect Assumptions About Writers

Let’s face it, we writers have built something of a reputation for ourselves. I won’t deny my own…unique characteristics, and I know you lot are in the same boat. But that doesn’t mean everything non-writers think about us is necessarily true. In fact, here are some common misconceptions people tend to have about writers that are usually false:

#1 Writers depend on inspiration

In this scenario, I define inspiration as the strong urge to write (as opposed to inspiration from a specific place or person). While inspiration is helpful, serious writers discipline themselves to write regardless of whether or not they’re inspired at the time.

#2 Writing is just a hobby

For a lot of people, it is. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But people don’t seem to realize that writing can also be a vocation, a life-ambition, and even a full career.

#3 Writers don’t enjoy other people

I don’t think this is the case at all. Sure, we often seclude ourselves to work, and a lot of us are strong introverts. But we still need people. We need friends and loved ones just as much as the next guy.

#4 Anyone can be a writer

False. Not everyone can be a writer. Sure, anyone can pick up a pen and write a two-page story. Pretty much everyone I know has started a novel at some point. But it’s the stubborn dedication to finish that novel that sets apart the writers from the casual dabblers.

#5 Writers only write when they have time

While it’s true that most writers have day jobs and other responsibilities competing for their time, anyone who is serious about their craft will actively carve out time, even in little amounts here and there, to set aside for writing.

#6 Writers are always looking for input

Sorry guys, but writers don’t necessarily need suggestions about their next plot twist or character creation. Of course, we’ll occasionally ask for help (normally from other writers), but for the most part we don’t need to be told what to write about next.

#7 Writers are always depressed

I’m honestly not sure where this belief originated. It’s just not true. Most of the writers I know are the happiest people alive. Granted, maybe we tend to experience emotions more intensely than some others (I’m sure there’s a whole science behind that possibility), but that doesn’t mean we’re always depressed.

#8 Writers base characters on their friends

This one is partially true, because a lot of writers take personality traits from friends or family members and incorporate them into their characters. But it’s false to think every character in a book is a carbon copy of one of the author’s friends.

#9 Writers base the protagonist on themselves

Similarly to the last point, writers don’t actually make themselves the protagonist all the time. As a matter of fact, I’d say we’re trying very hard not to do so. I don’t quite get why so many people ask me “so are you the main character?” when they read my book. Honestly, we’re not even that similar (I hope).

#10 Writers can’t make money

I’ve talked about this before. When I tell people I’m a writer/author, they automatically say something like “oh, but it’s so hard to make a living doing that. What’s your real job?” And while I understand the sentiment, and they’re not technically wrong, I would like to remind everyone that with a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, it is actually possible to earn a basic living writing books.


What assumptions have people made about you when they find out you’re a writer? Are some of them true? Or are you drastically misunderstood? Let me know in the comments below. In the meanwhile, have a great day!

The Writer’s Life According To Harry Potter

It’s back, and this time we’re looking at the wonderful wizarding world of writing! Sort of. I’ve lost track of the number of instalments in this blog series, but oh well. The writer’s life according to Harry Potter:

1
When you finish writing that epic climax.
2
Discovering the joys of a thesaurus.
3
When you check your book sales.
4
Gotta weed out those cliches…
5
The dangers of not bringing a notebook.
6
Yet another typo.
7
There are some reasons to go out…
8
When you need reviews for a book release.
9
Giving your characters a heads-up.
10
No, you will not “ship” my characters!

As usual, none of these gifs belong to me. All gifs can be found at giphy.com.

Header image from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Harry-film-logo.png

The rest of the series, The Writer’s Life According To…

Jack Sparrow

Sheldon Cooper

Minions

Gollum

Winnie the Pooh

Toy Story

I’m super glad you stopped by. Subscribe if you want to stay in touch, and have a splendid day!

The Writer’s Life According to Winnie the Pooh

Oh, bother. Here we go again! As usual, none of these gifs belong to me. All of them can be found on giphy.com.

giphy (1)
When you run out of motivational snacks.
giphy (2)
That first 5-star review.
giphy (3)
What you spend 90% of your time doing.
giphy (4)
When formatting time rolls around…
giphy (5)
Self-publishing in a nutshell.
giphy (6)
When people ask what it’s like to be a writer.
giphy (7)
New books and your bank account.
giphy (8)
When minor characters try steal all the attention.
giphy (9)
“Can I be a character in your next book?”
giphy
Those pesky buy-my-book messages on social media.

If you’re just joining the series, check out the previous installations of The Writer’s Life According To… here:

…Jack Sparrow

…Sheldon Cooper

…Minions

…Gollum

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Header image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/bibliodyssey/3066786506

6 False Assumptions About Readers

#1 Readers care about your characters by default

For a reader to invest in your protagonist takes time. Don’t expect much of an emotional response in the first chapters of your book. Establishing that connection between the reader and the character requires practice and effort.

#2 Readers actually read long description chunks

I’m a reader as well as a writer. I skip those pages of description, especially if it’s just linear location description (ehem, Tolkien). In all honesty, unless it’s super relevant to the story, I probably don’t care too much what colors the drapes are. Should you avoid all description? No, of course not. It can be relevant and it can be interesting. But don’t assume readers pay attention to all of it.

#3 Readers need constant reminders

Readers have better memory than we often give them credit for. If you slipped in hints about a plot twist, or foreshadowing, or anything of the sort, you probably don’t have to keep bringing it up to make sure readers haven’t forgotten.

#4 Readers won’t pick up on subtleties

Similar to #3. Readers are smart. They’ll catch nonverbals, hints, and between-the-lines suggestions. To state everything in an obvious way is to dumb down your story. Don’t give in to the I have to make this super-clear, otherwise they won’t catch on urge.

#5 Readers read at the same speed you write

Duh. It’s not hard to figure out, but I often forget. It’s important to not make this assumption without realizing it in terms of pacing. What feels like a super long chapter to you as the writer may only take a few minutes to read.

#6 Readers need attractive protagonists

I know I’ve talked about this before, but it still irks me. Authors and cover artists, I’m begging you to listen: if you rely on attractive bodies and front-cover models to sell your story, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Please, please, please stop! Readers should invest in real, human characters regardless of physical appearance. Don’t assume hot protagonist = happy reader!

6 Benefits Of #1LineWed

For those of you who aren’t on Twitter or, for whatever reason, haven’t ever followed a #1LineWed tag on social media, it’s an event each Wednesday in which writers and authors share lines from their projects under a certain theme, identified by the aforementioned hashtag (short for 1LineWednesday).

For a while, I didn’t pay much attention to the trend, but in recent months I’ve been getting more involved, and now it’s one of my favorite writerly trends on Twitter. Here are six reasons why I would encourage writers and readers alike to tune into #1LineWed:

#1 You get to share your best lines

1LineWed is the perfect opportunity to show the world that clever line you wrote last week. Simply put, it’s loads of fun.

#2 You get a glimpse of other writers’ style and voice

Lines shared for 1LineWed tend to stand out for their humor, beautiful prose, shock value, cleverness, etc. It’s amazing to see how, within one specific theme, each write has something unique to share.

#3 You learn how prominent a theme is in your manuscript

Today’s theme was ‘need’. I ran a word search in my manuscript, and was surprised by the results. I used the words need, needed, or needs at least once in over half of my scenes. I jotted down a memo to cut out as many of those as possible when I start editing.

On the flipside, a few weeks ago the theme was ‘smell’. Once again, I ran a word search and found out just how scarce my use of the sense of smell was. Since then, I’ve made a point to incorporate all senses, not just sight/sound.

#5 You find new people to connect with

Returning to social media for a moment. A simple click on the hashtag takes you to a constantly updating list of what people are sharing, which in turn gives you a bunch of fantastic writers you’ve maybe never met before.

#6 You get free exposure for your work

Tweets/posts with the 1LineWed hashtag tend to get a decent amount of views, likes, and retweets/shares. Even though the primary goal is to have fun and see what others are up to, it’s also a great way for people to find out about your book, ask questions, and maybe even take interest enough to stick around.


If you’ve never gotten involved in a #1LineWed event before, I definitely recommend giving it a try. The rules are simple: stick to the theme, no purchase links, and get creative! I hope to see you there soon. In the meantime, keep calm and write on!

In Case Of Book Sale, Break Glass

Not everyone knows how to react when a stranger (or even a friend) buys and reads their book. Here’s a quick, step-by-step guide so you know exactly what to do next time this happens to you.

Step 1: Panic

What? What is this? This can’t happen. I’ve been exposed. Compromised! Someone knows my name now! 

Step 2: Succumb to misery

They won’t like it. It’s not good enough. They have more followers than me on Twitter, and they’ll tell everyone how bad my book is. 

Step 3: Tell yourself everything will be okay

Maybe things won’t be that bad. They might like parts of it. After all, it’s not terrible, is it? 

Step 4: Engage in mild celebration

Yay…I guess. First book sale this month. So…things are looking up, you could say. *Tosses confetti on self* Probably clicked on it by accident, though. 

Step 5: Hope for the best

Well, who knows? If they do like it, maybe I’ll get a good review. Maybe they’ll recommend it to someone else. Fingers crossed! 

Step 6: Decide how to respond

Okay, so they tweeted about it. Should I favorite it? Thank them? Is that too arrogant? Do I tell them I hope they like it? No, it’s a book, a piece of my soul, not a snowcone. Better play it cool and not say anything. But…is it kosher to retweet? 

Step 7: Realize you have no idea what you’re doing anymore

It’s been fifteen minutes, and I haven’t moved a muscle. People around me are starting to look worried. If I had more sales I’d be better at this. 

Step 8: Repeat step 1

panic.gif

The Writer’s Life According To Gollum

I believe this is the fourth part of The Writer’s Life post series. If you’re just joining now, don’t miss out on the first three!

The writer’s life according to Jack Sparrow

The writer’s life according to Sheldon Cooper

The writer’s life according to Minions


The Writer’s Life According To Gollum

5
Grinding out those last 100 words to meet your quota.
1
The faces you inevitably make when writing in public…
2
When your royalties notice arrives in your inbox. 
3
Trying to ignore your inner editor during the first draft.
4
Writing that chapter where the love interest dies.
6
When your editor sends back corrections and suggestions…
8
…but they urge you to make the changes anyway.
10
When an interviewer/reader asks what your next book is about.
7
The faces you make when brainstorming a new idea.
9
When you get a new story idea in the middle of your current project.

 

(These gifs do not belong to me. All gifs found at giphy.com)

The Fiction Writer’s Job Description

Job Description: Fiction Writer

a very official document

(Please read and understand complete requirements before submitting your application.)

Work Location

Anywhere (this field includes but is not limited to households, offices, coffee shops, front porches, back porches, under porches, city parks, secluded glades, and cardboard boxes in back alleys).  

Departments

Available office departments include the Perpetually Drafting Department and the Perpetually Querying Department.

Duties and Responsibilities

Applicants must be prepared to emulate successful forerunners with as little variety as possible and memorize as many famous quotes by said forerunners with no intention of applying the advice therein. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Perform related duties as assigned by supervisor (…what supervisor?)
  • Maintain compliance with all company policies and procedures (unless applicant is self-published, in which case torches, pitchforks, and general creative anarchy may apply)
  • Master and abuse trade hashtags such as #amwriting, #amediting, #writers, #writing, #WIP, #fiction #writetip, #writingtips, #write, #CampNaNoWriMo, and #PleaseBuyMyBookImBeggingYou
  • Occasionally, applicants may be required to finish a first draft

Education and/or Experience Requirements

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to effectively communicate with internal and external customers, as well as the foreknowledge that it will take 5-15 drafts to do so.
  • Excellent computer proficiency (MS Office – Word, Excel and Outlook, Scrivener, Wattpad, Pinterest, Instagram, Netflix, YouTube, Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, and especially Ctrl+Alt+Delete)
  • Must have A+ certification in creative and critical writing skills, grammar skills, and procrastination skills (exceptions can and will be made for the first three)
  • Must be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines (or at least nod courteously as they whoosh by)
  • Ability to work independently and to carry out assignments to completion within parameters of instructions given, prescribed routines, and standard accepted practices (ability, yes; but no moral, social, or professional obligation to comply with any of said parameters)
  • High school diploma or GED required (applicants will be encouraged to scribble their outlines on said diploma. Also, GED stands for General English Disorder)
  • Associate Degree preferred. As in, anyone who associates with the applicant will be subject to plot/character experimentation to varying degrees (including but not limited to murder, villainization, or being dropped off in a magical forest never to be seen again)

Physical Requirements

  • Ability to safely and successfully perform the essential job functions consistent with the ADA, FMLA and other federal, state and local standards, including sitting in a chair…and not much else.
  • Ability to maintain and be subjected to consistent schedules, paired with the ability to formulate quasi-plausible excuses to undermine said schedules.
  • Must be able to lift and carry up to 50 lbs (of 1st draft waste).
  • Must have a minimum career/internship average of 78.4% accuracy on crumpled-paper-to-trashcan tossing (applicants may purchase Paper Toss on Android for a simulated practice).
  • Ability to type consistently with a minimum of three different body parts (fingers, toes, and forehead recommended) with an average of no higher than three spelling errors (per word).
  • Must have 24/7 access to coffee and/or tea and/or wine and/or chocolate and/or ice/cream (and/or other comfort food of choice).

Print Employee Name (for maximum efficiency, please include your personal name, pen name, Twitter handle, blog link, Facebook page, Pottermore username, and up to five promotional headlines).

Thank you for your interest in the position. We will respond to your application as quickly as we can.

“Kill Her Off” (A Love Song Parody For Writers)

 

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but not all of us will be celebrating with touchy-feely festivities. I’ve tweaked the lyrics of the classic song “Kiss The Girl” (Disney) to create an ode to all the characters we as writers loved but, sadly, had to say goodbye to.


Kill Her Off

(a parody by Nate Philbrick)

 

There you left her

Sitting back in chapter two

She don’t got a lot to do

But you’ve already named her

And you know by now

Just gotta figure out how

You’ve gotta kill her off.

She’s not developed

She’s not growing like the rest

Her personality is just the same

As the other love interest.

So you can use a sword

Or an ironing board

Go on and kill her off.

Sing with me now

Sha la la la la la 

Why oh why

Does the writer cry

He’s gotta kill her off

Sha la la la la la

It’s so sad

Even her dialog’s bad

He’s gonna kill her off. 

Choose your method

Drowning or a whale harpoon

But you better do it soon

This outline is failing

Things will be better if

You push her off a cliff

You’ve gotta kill her off.


Happy Valentine’s day, everyone!

mood