Friday, July 10, 2009

Admiration for Brevity

I'm naturally long-winded in my writing. I do a lot of trimming and a lot of word swaps to find the one word that says what a sentence used to say. I really enjoy that part, because I feel like I'm refining my writing into something more perfect, something that pulls the reader along without them even realizing it. I want to be one of those authors that people stay up all night reading because they simply can't resist the next line.

For me, Janet Evanovich, especially Evanovich's Stephaine Plum novels, is that type of author. She's a master and an inspiration for me. She packs so much into each novel, so much action, adventure, and humor. She's got enough romance to keep me happy, too. But more than that, she gets the most out of every word—descriptions that fit into a sentence and scenes that fit on a page, and all of it feels as complete as if I'd been standing right next to the characters, and she didn't have to beat me over the head with pages and pages of filler text. It's all very impressive, and I try to make myself go slow enough to appreciate it, as difficult as that is.

I just finished Seven Up, and I normally don't like to read the same author back to back, but I'm going to be forced to this time. And by forced I mean this: Remember when I coerced Cody into buying me a book so I wouldn't break my self-inflicted rule of no book buying for three months? And remember how it had to be the next Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse novel? Well, it turns out that I don't have the novel before the one that Cody purchased for me (something I discovered after reading two pages of the new book and discovering a huge spoiler!).

Having had my heart set on a Harris novel, and not having one to read, I roamed through my to-be-read piles and did the first-line test to see which appealed to me. Evanovich's romance novel Full House won because she mentions polo in the first sentence, and I was just telling Cody that my list of things I want to do before I die is up to two things, and one of them is play polo. (The other is do some bungee jumping stuff like in the first Lara Croft movie.) I'm looking forward to a funny read, and while this tides me over, maybe the book fairy will bring me the missing Harris novel.

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