FF: Writers Read Differently

Roary Finds an Excellent Read

This week I’ve been very aware that writers read differently than casual readers.  I’ll extend this reaction to habitually thoughtful readers who don’t write, as well.

While reading The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold, I saw a certain plot point coming.  No.  This wasn’t because Bujold was boring or predictable but, as a writer, I saw where a particular element would become crucial.  Did this make me bored?  Not in the least…  I nearly collapsed in relief when the scene finally hit and was resolved (very much to my satisfaction). 

I think this awareness of the elements of story is something editors acquire as well.  As fiction “gatekeepers” this can become a danger point.  Editors read so much that, after a while, what would have once delighted now seems “meh.”  On the other hand, a new editor doesn’t know enough, and gets excited over something a longtime reader says “meh” about.


For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.  And it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading. 


Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Fraser.  Audiobook.  Non-fiction.  Re-read.  Memoir of the Burma campaign in WWII, British POV.  Read by David Case, who does accents amazingly.

Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison.  Nordic mythic underpinnings to a story that’s part fairytale, more magical realism.  Main character is more acted upon than acting.  Still feel mixed about this one.

Finder by Emma Bull.  Set in the “shared universe” of Bordertown, but fully standing on its own.  A very fine story, that sometimes hit a little too close to current events in ways I can’t mention without spoilers.

In Progress:

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold.  Audiobook.  One of the FF regulars mentioned Bujold’s fantasy, and my library had this, and here I am.  Court intrigue on an intricate scale.  Very limited magic, so should suit readers of historical fiction as much as of Fantasy.

Liavek edited by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly.  When looking to see if I have any of the Bordertown anthologies (I don’t, must amend), I came across this on my shelves.  The 1980s saw the growth of shared world anthologies, with a wide variety of settings.  I’m enjoying this quite a bit. 


Our local Biopark (combination of affiliated zoo, botanical garden, aquarium, and more) magazine came out.  I read with happiness about a new baby hippo, but was brought to tears by the news that three members of the siamang family died as a result of a disease—one of the gorillas, too, but the siamangs have long been particular favorites, and we’d watched the baby grow up.  He was such a showoff.

8 Responses to “FF: Writers Read Differently”

  1. Beverly Martin Says:

    Just noticed the patches on Roary’s side look like a person cheering in this photo. Cool!

    This week, I read Aloha from Hell ( Sandman Slim #3) by Richard Kadrey. Fast moving.

    I also read Royal Flush (Royal Spyness Mysteries #3) by Rhys Bowen. Georgie went back to Scotland for a visit and, of course on a secret spy mission as well. These are engaging stories with good characters. I am enjoying the series, so far.

  2. King Ben's Grandma Says:

    I followed the clues about your siamangs… poor Rue😥 all alone. I wonder if they’ll move him here? Either to our Zoo or the Safari Park (still Wild Animal Park to me)

    Completely unrelated to your post, but related to animals, did you read about the asexual hatching of California Condors? 😲

    • janelindskold Says:

      I hope we get more siamangs here. They have a terrific enclosure, with lots of room for swinging around and climbing on real trees. I hadn’t read about the condors… Sounds interesting.

  3. futurespastsite Says:

    The late Nelson Bond once said that, when you become a writer, you give up the primitive reading for pleasure.

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