On Reading (IWSG January)

The Insecure Writer's Support Group badge, with name of group on a background of a lighthouse.

Happy New Year 2021!

Welcome to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. On the first Wednesday of every month we blog about writing, hoping to encourage others out there. We are all about connecting, sharing, and ‘rocking the neurotic writing world’.

Which seems particularly fitting for a first post of the year.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!


Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the awesome co-hosts for the January 6 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen GardnerSandra Cox, and Louise – Fundy Blue.

This month, we are exploring the following question:

Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?

How to be polite here? I rarely leave a book unfinished; the feeling of a story incomplete is–*shivers*–pretty darn terrible, to me. But sometimes, I just have to give it up for a lost cause. And when I do, it’s almost always because I can’t stomach the poor writing, especially spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Come on, writers. Edit. Please. When I read a book with a plot I enjoy, I’d like not to be pulled out of the story by the feeling that it needs a few more passes. Tightening of words. Characters with depth. Point of view consistency. I read a book recently whose author forgot who was in which scene. They also tended to make new characters appear whose names the MC magically knew when they shouldn’t have. I liked the story, and I completed the book. But I can’t recommend it. The writing needed work to shine.

And no, I’m not yet a published author myself. But that kind of adds to the rub. If I wouldn’t put my stuff out there without a certain amount of effort, I’d like to see the same from other people. There are millions of shining gems of books out there. Between a gem and a stone, I know which I’d rather add to my giant to-be-read pile.

A book I started last year that I couldn’t finish had a different problem. Its plot was thick with hidden meaning, it was slow, it was complex, and–even though I have a science degree–it was too much work to understand. As a speculative fiction writer, I tend towards reading the same. This book was a hard science-fiction, and I’m going to agree with the ‘hard’.

Then again, I read another hard sci-fi a few months later that also took me a long slog to get through. So perhaps it’s just not the genre for me.

What about you? I’d love to hear how you’d answer the question. Leave a note in the comments below!

Have a great New Year’s Week everyone. I’ll be back next Wednesday with a short story. This one’s a bit of fun. See you then. 🙂

PS: If you’d like to read more Insecure Writer musings, do check out this blog hop to see how everyone else answered this month’s question.

8 thoughts on “On Reading (IWSG January)

  1. I also write spec fic. Some sci-fi I enjoy. But yeah, even though I like science, there are some that the book feels more like instructions than story. It’s a fine line.
    At least you’re learning what you like and don’t like, so you can watch out for those things in your own books when you do publish them.
    I hope your New Year is going well. I only read and reviewed 23 books last year, but my goal for this year is 30. My other goals are to publish another fiction book in 2021, do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April, and increase the number of authors helped by Operation Awesome.


  2. I get the “hard” in hard sci-fi. My husband calls it “deep” science fiction. I like “light” science fiction, however there have been a few deep sci-fi novels that I was able to get through while taking notes. 😀

    One thing I do hate to read is obvious metaphors or similes. “She ran after him like a tigress after her prey” is such a turn off. Leapt, sprinted, dashed, bolted… there are so many other more creative ways to say she ran really really fast. If I reach more than a few in the first few chapters, I can’t go any further. It’s like scraping my nails on a chalkboard. ;-D


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