I love to read. That probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to most folks as they assume all writers like reading, but books have always been an important part of my life. Christmas and birthday gifts were almost always books I wanted or gift cards to bookstores, which were always used immediately to restock my TBR pile. My favorite place (and my parents’ – free books for a voracious reader!) was the library, both public and at school. I read any and everything I could get my hands on; my nose was constantly in a book. Adulthood has lessened that to a large extent, sadly enough, but I do have brief bouts of manic reading.
What does this have to do with my subject line? Well, I learned early on that I most enjoyed reading about suffering characters. The more dire the situation, the more I relished the read. Cliffhangers were awesome, provided the next book was immediately available, but I’d eagerly await the next part to see how it all turned out. I didn’t like stories with unhappy endings (still refuse to read or warch “The Road”) but I enjoyed watching characters grow even as they suffered.
Where am I going with this? Well, for the last week I’ve been on a reading frenzy (and yes, my writing has suffered to my dismay) of a scifi YA “Molly Fyde” series by Hugh Howey. It has everything a girl could want: action, adventure, kick-ass heroine, angst, love, betrayal, genocide, politicking…
*looks back at that list* Okay, so this girl doesn’t want everything on that list, but it makes a compelling read. I love smart series like this, the kind that give characters impossible situations and, when they choose, they have to live with the ramifications of their actions. When they make a mistake and it comes back to haunt them. Reading books like this make me realize how much I as a writer still have to learn – its HARD to beat up your characters, even if it’s for their own good or the good of the story.
But boy, does it make for one heck of a ride.