Literary Love/Hate

Love HateImage Source

I am not one of those writers who wanted to write all of their lives. I’ve heard some say they knew what they wanted to do, that they poured out stories at a young age.

I did very little writing young, though I remembered writing a play for my class in 3rd grade (I believe it was about an Easter bunny). And, apart from the few required creative writing assignments in school, I didn’t write at all. I took up the mantel of writing a few years ago.

Now READING, I’ve taken very seriously my whole life. When I was little, I prompted my mom to read to me all the time. Bedtime stories were one of my favorite things. Once I learned to read on my own (the first book being Dr. Seuss), my mom could hardly drag me out of the library. And I spent many a days staying up late to finish a book, even on school nights when I was supposed to be asleep.

I went to college for music education. Before I attended college, I loved listening to classical music. Since college, it has taken me a very long time to enjoy it again. For in the study of music, I found myself taking a musical score, tearing it apart, analyzing it, and labeling it. Instead of just listening to it, I had to study each note and section. I had to write down the notes by just listening to it. I wasn’t so good at it either, and I found the process stressful and hated it.

We were also required to listen to peer performed recitals, week after week. It was called recital hour (or nap hour, to those of us who had to hear). Even to this day, I don’t relish attending classical concerts or ensembles. My college experience ruined it for me. Because of the intensity of study in music, it influenced my love of the art. To this day, I don’t love music like I used to do.

Since I’ve become a writer, it has affected my reading somewhat as well. The books I loved before, I can now see the flaws. Heck, I think I even enjoyed BAD writing before I learned the tricks of the trade. I can’t say that writing had made me turn from books the same way that studying music made me turn. But writing HAS made me much more discerning and judgmental on what I read. Now, I find myself not just falling into the writer’s world. I look at how they created it. If I enjoy a section, I try and figure out the “why”. Like I did in college, I sometimes take it apart and analyze it.

Writing has changed me.

Reading has now become more of a LOVE/HATE relationship. I can no longer enjoy a story if the writing is bad (like I used to be able to do). But, unlike my training in music, I still LOVE to read (for the most part). Even if I HATE the badly written books, becoming a writer has made me LOVE the good books all the more.


The Emissary (Coming Dec 2013 from Month 9 Books)

By: Kristal Shaff

A seventeen-year-old must defeat an ageless king and his powerful army in order to save their land from a cloud of darkness that threatens to destroy him, and those like him, who possess one of six deadly powers.

This entry was posted in Kristal Shaff, writing and tagged , by Kristal Shaff. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kristal Shaff

Kristal Shaff grew up with books (and used to drive her mom crazy when she wouldn't leave the library); her first job was even shelving books at the library. She loves anything creative, and you can often find her exploring strange and fantastical worlds in her choices of movies and fantasy fiction. Kristal resides in Iowa with her farmer husband, numerous pets, and 4 awesome kids. When she isn't writing, she is a professional face painter who enjoys making children smile.

11 thoughts on “Literary Love/Hate

  1. Gah! How awful to have something you loved so much destroyed. I was an English major and never read a book during college without a pencil. Since I graduated (over 20 years ago), I don’t highlight, note, or mark anything down and simply enjoy reading. I don’t even mind “bad writing” … I just love a good story. And having been to classes and fielding questions, I realize that, as readers, we often read WAY TOO MUCH into something. I’ve gotten some pretty sophisticated questions about symbolism and whatnot. I usually am dumbstruck, then say, “Wow. I WISH I had done that on purpose!”
    I’m bummed about your music being dissected. How lucky you have other creative outlets!

  2. I hate to see something get ruined like that. That’s just awful. I know what you mean about how being a writer makes you read in a different way. It’s hard to turn the writer off and just tune in as a reader now.

  3. I have the same problem with photographs, being a former retoucher/print artist. The things that stand out are the things that could be fixed, like trees growing from people’s heads, litter caught in the background, hot spots that distract…

  4. That’s too bad about your experience ruining classical music for you. I’d hate that. As for bad writing, I tend to notice the mistakes. The editor in me never rests, dang it. But once I’m engaged and care enough about the characters, I’ll ignore the typos and inconsistent thiings.

  5. I hear you on the subject of writing making you objective about reading. When I find myself critiquing a book too much, I try to relax and concentrate on the story, not the writing. It doesn’t always work though.

  6. I ran into this problem years ago when I started editing for a living–bad books I could handle, but typos drove me up a wall. I’m used to it now…I catch them, but I just let them go. (Sort of. Sometimes.) Now that I’m writing books I’m definitely more picky, but fortunately there are enough good books out there to keep me happy. I hope your love of music comes back!

  7. I have the same issue! Before becoming a writer, I enjoyed books if I liked the character and story, and I paid little attention to the quality of the writing. Now I can’t turn off the editor in my mind, and I have a hard time enjoying a book if the writing isn’t at a certain level. Thanks for this post!

  8. Do you read within genre when your first drafting? Sometimes I’d rather not read at all, which is a bit of a pain because these days I’m always always first drafting.My son, who is a composer, has exactly the same issue now when listening to anything.

  9. Let me do that again, this time with my proofing glasses on.
    Do you read within genre when you’re first drafting? Sometimes I’d rather not read at all, which is a bit of a pain because these days I’m almost always first drafting. My son, who is a composer, has exactly the same issue now when listening to anything.

  10. I am actually like that with illustration. I studied it, and somehow, trying to make money at it ruined my love for it. I still do some, but design is much more of a passion for me. As for writing, I came to it very late–and if anything, being a writer has actually increased my enjoyment of reading. I know a book is good when I stop worrying about how it is written and just fall into the book.

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