When I started writing, it ruined me for reading. In more ways than one. I haven't been able to read a book (okay, I HAD to read Echo In The Bones when it came out!) without fear that my subconscious will steal an idea. I guess there's always going to be some amount of that with any writing. After all, if you read enough cliches they're bound to pop up somewhere in your thoughts once in a while. And sometimes, they just fit. But not always. And, of course, with any genre there are certain stereotypes that just happen. Period.
But, the worst is not the above; it's the writing itself--phrases, cliches and stereotypes that have been made throughout the history of writing (especially with romance, I find). Little things that I'd have breezed through without second thought now jump out and pull me out of a really good story.
Her eyes darted about the dark room in hopes of finding an escape.
It sounds so innocent. Some girl is trapped in a dark room and she's looking for a way out. Right? Only eyes don't jump out of one's head and run about a room.
Her gaze swept around the dark room in hopes of finding an escape.
Well at least her eyes are still intact even if she never finds one.
When writing, the first example above is the one that springs forth. It takes editing, and a sharp eye (ha!) to find and fix them all. But, I would place bets that the vast majority of readers never notice something like that. I certainly didn't. Before. I'll go further and wager that agents, editors and fellow writers are pretty much the only ones who catch it. And they aren't the ones buying the books to read. When it comes down to it, they must know this, though, because there are plenty of books out there that pass through with such phrases. Thank goodness.
It does sadden me that some of my enjoyment is taken away. My brain no longer just reads the story. It critiques as I go along, showing me each and every little thing I've been told is The Wrong Way to Write and makes me ponder, instead of live inside the pages.
What interests me most is that more often than not, the bestsellers are what the industry considers poor writing. I suppose that's where A Really Good Plot comes in.
Now to check on my plot...