Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Tale Of Two Reading Hats

Over Coffee will take a break the holiday weekend and resume June 1st. 




My guest is debut author, Anita Clenny. Anita writes paranormal and suspense.  She's the author of a new paranormal romance series about Highland Warriors.  

Anita says when she's deep into the "middle of a heated battle with warriors and demons" she tends to forget "that people in the real world have to eat dinner and that dishes don't wash themselves."



I just read that the pink ribbon hat Princess Beatrice wore for the royal wedding sold on eBay for over $131,000. The only good thing I can say about that hat is that the proceeds of its sale raised money for charity. Quite a bizarre fashion statement, but it got me to thinking about hats; in this case, metaphorical hats. For most writers, our love of stories began as readers. When I was young, I was fascinated by the worlds I found between the pages of a book. I still am. It never occurred to me that I might write one myself until a few years ago. I had been on a reading jaunt that was about as insane as that hat the Princess wore, when it occurred to me that I could write a story. Or so I thought. I found out that writing a good story wasn’t as easy as I’d expected. But I learned and I persevered and here I am, with a Scottish paranormal series about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil, and Destined Love.


When reading for pleasure, I can completely lose myself in a story. Nothing matters but those characters and that plot. I’m not picky about those little technicalities that drive writers and editors crazy. I’m there, living the characters’ joys and their woes. If I put on my author hat and read, it becomes an entirely different thing. I start seeing the creation of the story, the way the author strung the words together to build the plot, to create the characters, paint the setting. Are there too many adverbs, not enough sentence variation, too much telling – not enough showing? Is the writing just not engaging enough? Or did the author do something that was so brilliant it made me gasp in awe and feel the bite of envy?


But sometimes that author’s hat gets in the way. Instead of just enjoying a movie, I’m busy analyzing the plot, because as a writer I know where the story should go to get the most bang out of the plot. It can take away from the enjoyment of books or movies if you’re not careful. But if you’ve hit a wall, that hat can come in handy.
A few times as I was writing Awaken the Highland Warrior, either my warriors weren’t behaving, or my writing just seemed to dry up. I think I needed to step away and look at the story fresh. If I had that luxury, I took it, but if I was pushed for time, I grabbed a book, put on my author hat and read a few paragraphs, and I was back in the game. So I love both my hats, and I think there’s a time and place for each.
  • If you’re a writer, do you have two hats?
  • If you’re a reader, do you find yourself at times not enjoying the story because you’re analyzing it?

If so, there might be a writer lurking inside you.


AWAKEN THE HIGHLAND WARRIOR


A Man From Another Time…

Faelan is from an ancient clan of Scottish Highland warriors, charged with shielding humanity from demonic forces. Betrayed and locked in a time vault, he has been sleeping for nearly two centuries when spunky historian Bree Kirkland inadvertently wakes him. She’s more fearsome than the demon trying to kill him, and if he’s not careful, she’ll uncover the secrets his clan has bled and died to protect…

Could Be the Treasure She’s Been Seeking All her Life…

When Bree inherits an old treasure map, she discovers a warrior buried in her backyard. But the warrior isn’t dead. Bree shocks Faelan with her modern dress and her boldness, and he infuriates Bree every time he tries to protect her.

With demons suddenly on the move, Bree discovers that Faelan’s duty as protector is in his blood, and that her part in this fight was destined before she was born. But nothing is ever what it seems… Excerpt

~*~*~


Anita Clenney writes paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Before giving herself over to the writing bug, she worked in a pickle factory, at a preschool, booked shows for Aztec Fire Dancers, and was a secretary, executive assistant, and a realtor. She lives with her husband and two children in suburban Virginia where she is working on her next book, Embrace the Highland Warrior, which will be in stores in November 2011. For more information, please visit http://www.anitaclenney.com/ and http://www.sourcebookscasablanca.com./

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28 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Welcome to Over Coffee, Anita.

Glad to hear I'm not the only one who loses track of *real* life when writing.

Other Lisa said...

Howdy, Anita!

I actually have a very tough time reading a book without analyzing how it's working (or not), what the strengths and weaknesses are. Kind of a drag at times, but I think it's part of how we learn and grow as writers.

Tonya Kappes said...

Hi, Anita! I too have a hard time taking off my writer's hat now that I met Alex Sokoloff. I spent a week long retreat with her and she broke down scenes of all my favorite movies. Of course I will blurt something out, while watching with my DH, but he just looks at me:) I'm in between releases, so I take a month to just read! I'm loving it!

Carolyn Brown said...

Anita: Yes, I do have both hats and yes, ma'am, I surely do too much analyzing! Love your post and the fresh look at WHY I do that!

Stephen Tremp said...

Now if I could only find the Swedish Bikini Team buried in my back yard. I'd put them to work though, painting the house and cleaning stuff. I'm happily married!

Anita Clenney said...

Thanks Sia. Glad to be here.

Anita Clenney said...

Stephen, Ha! You never know what's buried out there.

Anita Clenney said...

Carolyn, I love it when I forget the analyzing and just get lost in the book.

Anita Clenney said...

Tonya, I bet that retreat was fabulous. And I'm so jealous that you have a month to read.

Anita Clenney said...

Other Lisa, it is tough to take off that author hat.

Jo Wake said...

Nope, luckily my reading doesn't get spoilt by analyzing. My biggest problem is misprints or misspellings. I seem to spot every one of them. I have been re-reading the Wheel of Time series and have found lots of little conjunction words missing. Didn't see it the first time though.

Leanne109 said...

I have 2 hats, one that analyses a book which then turns into reviews and the one that just enjoys a book. The mere pleasure of reading in itself is enough but sometimes I jut need to let people know about a certain book, good or bad lol

Cheryl Brooks said...

I find myself analyzing plots too, Anita. It can detract from the enjoyment of a book or a movie, but sometimes, the writer surprises you. That's when you know it's a keeper!

Lavinia Kent said...

Anita,

I go through phase where I have a hard time not being a writer, when I feel that every word I read must be analyzed whether I want to or not. When I am not reading Romance it's easier, but with Romance I am always thinking about how I would have done it differently -- or wishing I could do it as well.

Strangely enough, however, I've been on a huge reading jag the last couple of weeks and have only had on my reader's hat. I don't know what's different, but I am enjoying it as long as it lasts.

Lavinia

Hilary said...

Hi Sia .. thanks for reviewing Anita's book - sounds very interesting. That hat - was monstrous wasn't it .. but glad it raised A LOT of money for charity ..

I'm not a writer .. but do find myself constantly thinking about things re the blog - I have to switch off and say no more .. I've enough prompts to last me a while! So I can sure see how authors get carried away with people watching, landscapes etc etc .. now I know!

Cheers Hilary

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh, I do the same.

Definitely two hats. When I'm reading for enjoyment I close down the editing witch and just go withe the story.

There are times that's harder to do, lol! I agree with Cheryl, sometimes an author surprises you. There have been a few books that will pull me right out of the story because of that. I'll think, damn, that was a great scene and I'll look at it more closely and see how it was done.

Laurie said...

So here I am, late to the party.

Many moons ago, I analyzed what I read, and it not only destroyed my pleasure in reading, it wiped out my pleasure in writing.

Then I began getting paid for reading critically (ah, Harlequin, bring back your freelance reader program!), and suddenly I could read for pleasure again.

Go, like, figure.

I'm almost (but not quite) back to losing track of everything when I write. Looking forward to my arrival there.

VA said...

How I treat a book or movie depends on how I approach it. Generally, I can turn off the analytic and just accept the artist's creation. Their intention without dissecting it or overlaying it with my expectations of what I want to happen.

Then again, I can reread or sit through another airing and break it down. That is a conscious act because I don't want to go through life not being able to let go and see something a different way.

In the end, regardless of which way I approach them I know my feelings about a book or move depending on its strengths and weaknesses. If I need to I can break it down into an argument form, but I don't want that to be all of what I experience.

Anita Clenney said...

Jo, you're lucky. It's hard when the analyzing intrudes. I've heard a lot of good things about the Wheel of Time series. I'll have to check it out.

Anita Clenney said...

VA, sounds like the best of both worlds.

Anita Clenney said...

Leanne, it's great if you can control the hat rather than it controlling you.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Hilary, it's tough being an author sometimes. I would love to just pick up a book and let the world go by.

Anita Clenney said...

Cheryl, I love to be surprised. Harlan Coben always surprises me. You get to the end, wa la, big surprise, then two pages later, the real end, bigger surprise.

Anita Clenney said...

Lucky you, Lavinia. Wear that hat for as long as you can. I love getting carried away with a good book.

Anita Clenney said...

Sia, yes, that's a good way to get pulled out of a scene. :) I've done that myself.

Grace Greene said...

Hi, Anita - I tried to comment but I think it got lost, so forgive me if this ends up as a duplicate.

When I get lost in reading a book, I don't tweak or edit in my head. But when I'm not enjoying a book, sometimes now I have a clearer idea of WHY it's not an enjoyable read.

Congrats on the release and on the upcoming one!

Anita Clenney said...

Thanks for having me Sia. I loved the comments. If anyone wants to be kept up to date with my secret warrior happenings, please sign up for my newsletter on my website. I'll send one out after I return from my booksigning in Martha's Vineyard. I'm off for some fun. Yipee!

Anita Clenney said...

Almost missed you Grace. Thanks so much. I do the same thing quite often. It's easier to critique if you don't like the book. Thanks for commenting.