Friday, May 11

Figured it out...

While I was posting responses to the comments on my That Darned Grading Curve the other day I finally figured IT out. I read for voice, writing style and characters, not necessarily story. Not much of a brainstorm but it worked for me.

It's explains...

  • why my keeper shelves are filled with less then perfect books.
  • why I have autobuy authors that always work for me, but may not love or even like all their books.
  • why I have old favorites that no longer work for me, it's not the stories they're now telling, it's a change in their writing voice and style I don't like. Joan Wolf went from lush to sparse. Catherine Coulter historicals went from dark to humorous to just too witty.
  • why some authors are hit or miss. I may like the story they're telling enough to compensate for not loving their writing voice or style, but may not like other stories enough to do the same.

Don't get me wrong, a good story is always important, but for me it's the writing voice and style that make an autobuy.

Autobuys... Mary Balogh, Meljean Brook, Liz Carlyle, Susan Carroll, Laura Lee Guhrke, Linda Howard, Madeline Hunter, Eloisa James, Lydia Joyce, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Julia Quinn, Karen Ranney, Nora Roberts, Karen Rose, Susan Squires, Anne Stuart, Lynn Viehl... To name a few :D


Sam said...

I love good writing, and authors that write well always get my book money. I can't stand sloppy writing. Hate, hate hate buying a book and finding out the author can't write, which is why I rarely read reviews, but I always try to read an excerpt before I buy a book. Bad writing simply can't lift a good story out of the muck (for me.) I know, picky picky. But a look at my keeper shelf confirms this.

Amie Stuart said...

The story has to interest me but ulitimately, I read for all teh same reasons you do. If the story does interest me and I read a few pages and the voice doesn't grab me, I'm gone.

Jaye said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto, and Amen, Tara. I'm exactly the same way. There are authors I'd loved to read. I pick up their books and I recognize the 'craftmanship/skill' of their writing,but their voice/characterizations leave me cold.

I can/will/ and have put down *great stories* because the author voice doesn't work for me. By the same token Ive stayed up well into the the night reading because I was completely captivated by character/setting/phasing/emotional content/sexual tension even if there were plot holes a mile wide.

CindyS said...

Voice was one of those scary concepts that writers would bring up every once in a while and I'd go running. Complicated stuff if you try and analyse it but I agree with you. Voice is top of the list for me as well. The thing about voice is that if an author doesn't change it up a bit, the reader begins to feel it's the same old stuff after a while and then other authors change things up and you want to weep.

I loved Linda Howard's love stories but she seems to have moved onto suspense and I just can't follow her there. I get so disappointed when I don't find the romance and sexual heat I have become used to.

Julie Garwood lost me also when she went contemporary but then I didn't feel her characters were acting very modern.

Brockmann's voice became a little 'same old, same old' and I have stopped buying her.

And yet, I know what I'm getting when I buy an Anne Stuart. I know what I'm getting when I buy MJD. I know (for the most part although nowadays it's hit or miss) with Evanovich but there must be just that something more that makes me crave them.


Tara Marie said...

Sam, Bad writing simply can't lift a good story out of the muck (for me.) I know, picky picky. Bingo, what a perfect description why good story can't save bad writing.

Amie, I think I can actually expand Sam's thought, a good story can't save bad writing, but a good writing can save a less than stellar story.

Jaye, for me if the voice doesn't work then the story needs to be extraordinary, which is tough to do.

I was completely captivated by character/setting/phasing/emotional content/sexual tension even if there were plot holes a mile wide. I had to laugh when I read this, because it's so darned true for me too. I have keepers others consider wallbangers simply because something completely clicked for me.

Cindy, I have to agree, the concept of a writing voice is complicated. And on some level I expect an authors voice to evolve somewhat, it's impossible to be completely stagnant.

Linda Howard works for me because her voice is incredibly strong and even though the stories she's telling now are different, her voice really isn't. I can live that because it ties back to the fact I'm comfortable with other genres and only need a hint of romance.

I always liked Julie Garwood's historical style, I read her suspense, but am consistantly disappointed in them.

I don't read Brockmann anymore simply because there's a sameness to her books these days that doesn't work for me. She has a great voice, but something in her stories don't work for me and I really hate that 1. she strung us along so long for Sam's story and 2. The constant series baiting.