Writing isn't just about characterization, worldbuilding, goals-motivation-conflict. It's also about perfecting (well, improving) storytelling skills, learning new techniques, finding out what processes work for you. And reading and critiquing other people's writing, and having them read yours. I've met some amazing writers in this process of exchanging critiques, learned a lot, made some new friends.
In the process, though, I realize I've lost my innocence as a reader, and I miss that because I was a reader long before I was a writer.
It takes me longer to get "lost" in a book now. I'm always noticing sentence structure, mentally evaluating as I read. Wouldn't that opening line have been stronger as X,Y,Z? How come (big published author) can get away with such info dumps? Wish I could express emotional angst with such beauty and clarity. Ad nauseum.
Which all makes me cringe, of course, because there will be other writers like me (I hope) who might be reading my books and doing the same thing--except maybe they won't find anything to like.
Of course I've also become more forgiving as I realize manuscripts are never really finished. I have yet to read through one of my own manuscrpts -- both fiction and nonfiction -- without the compulsion to tighten, change words, tinker incessantly. But deadlines come, tunnel-vision sets in, and we send our babies out, hoping a reader will get lost in our characters and stories--and not notice the things we'd have changed if we had Just. One. More. Pass.
What I'm lost in now: JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood. I still haven't read the two most recent, so I've started the series over to read them all straight through. I like some in the series more than others, but she does an amazing job of seamlessly carrying a multiple-POV story. Oops. There I go again.
Whose books have you gotten lost in lately?