Monday, November 3, 2014

READING THE BEST SELLER LIST


As readers, the best sellers’ lists are guides to good reads in our favorite genres. As writers we might feel intimidated by the top ten in fiction or nonfiction.

So, “who’s on first?” Avid readers could read through those lists in a month. Most authors stay on a few months, while others with controversial ideas stay on longer. The early bloomers are the tried and true, promoted by their publishers and agents, not for our benefit but for theirs. They are sure money makers: the old cash cows. Authors are presold to at least make it on the list the first week—which boosts sales.

While I was reviewing for Coffee Time Romances and More, I discovered some wonderful new authors represented by small publishers. A few, unlike the cows, were dogs. It takes the reader more research to pick winners from a motley muddle. After two years, I no longer review for CTR, but I have watched their good writers climb to larger and better publishing houses. Occasionally one will graze the top ten for a short stay, and longer.

As writers it behooves us to read the best to be the best. In books, I’ve found wonderful word choices and new images, not to copy but by deconstruct and apply what I learned for my own use. I’ll share three here:

Scrim: used to show a veiled appearance, “A scrim of tears." Or an actual device in filming.

Susurration, just breathing, or the undulation of the sea to shore movement that I used in my Tahitian novel, Daughters of the Sea.

Those words first came to my attention in 1998 while reading Anne Rivers Siddons, Hill Towns. I kept a list of her unfamiliar words and looked them up when I returned from vacation. No Google, no devices then.

Most recently I discover Ian McEwan, author of the new book, The Children Act. I was so pleased with the construction of the story and subject, juvenile courts handling a young Jehovah's Witness in need of a blood transfusion in the UK; I looked for his other books.

In Black Dogs I found the answer to my memoir focus problem. My story is told linearly though my adventures with people who taught me life lessons. But unlike Tuesdays With Morey, it’s not about them, it’s still about me. I call my book-to-be Pathways Home, an adoptees story. But thanks to Ian McEwan, I know it’s a divagation. Divagation means you are writing about a person in a memoir or an autobiography, but telling their story by showing those around them who have influenced them.

Reading pays off!


*Dictionaries describe it thusly based on its root: vagation - a message that departs from the main subject
digression, excursus, parenthesis, aside
subject matter, content, message, substance - what a communication that is about something is about; to wander or stray from a course or subject : DIVERGE, DIGRESS

Julie can be reached at:
snorkeljul@aol.com
Web site at www.books-jepainter.com
Twitter: @JulieEPainter
or Amazon
http://amzn.to/1sBpDU8

3 comments:

Big Mike said...

Always with the great posts JP.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012

Big Mike said...

Always with the great posts JP.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Thanks, Mike. FYI: Goodreads is voting on best books in each Genre. Don't miss a chance. I recommended NOT COOL, by Greg Gutfeld, for one of my choices.