I’m not a reader. I used to be. I used to be the kind of reader who read in the car at stop lights and preferred solitary lunches at work so I could get another chapter in. I was a voracious reader. I had a library card and knew the owner of the used book store’s grandchildren’s names.
But, then I started writing. And, out of nowhere, I quit reading.
Everywhere you look, if you look at “advice for writers” or “how to be the best writer you can be!”, one of the first things they say is, “Read. Read everything all the time.” Well, I’ve found that to not be the case for me. I don’t like to read fiction anymore. I don’t have the patience for it, and I don’t have the time. Whatever free time I end up with, I’m using to read homemaking, Christian living, or cookbooks, or to plan blog posts, or plot out novels. And that is just simply the truth.
However, since I have a teenaged daughter who is a reader like I used to be, I’ve seen The Hunger Games. And, because she loves reading so much and was so excited for a movie to come out from the books she read in 8th grade, I bought her a lot of the “behind the scenes” style publications for the movie. In doing so, I read a lot of “why we picked this fashion” and “why this set looks like this” commentaries, and suddenly, I wanted to read the books. I wanted to see what an author could say in a description that would generate the kind of visualizations that the movie makers created to the great joy of the fans and readers. I wanted to know how a character could possibly be portrayed that would generate the kind of acting that Jennifer Lawrence stunningly gives in the movies.
But, in the time since the first movie came out, I’ve been a little busy, so the desire to read the books was placed in the background. Over Christmas break this year, though, my father-in-law loaned me all three books. Since I was taking Christmas off from everything, I had time to read.
I read the first book in a day. It was really REALLY good. I was captivated by the story. Even in first person, present tense, it was good. The author does a remarkable job. After reading the firstbook, I re-watched the first movie and experienced the whole “the book was so much better” phenomenon, even though I’d loved the movies so much.
I read the second book the next day. Again, so much better than the movie, and so well done. However, by then my break was over and I’ve been back to work and I’m reading the third book at a much slower pace, wishing I could afford to just take an entire day and get it finished so I can get back to my life.
But, talking to Gregg about it, something occurred to me. I was telling him that the writing was so well done that it didn’t distract me from immersing myself into the story – which is one of the main reasons I don’t enjoy reading anymore. He and I talked about some of the visualizations in the book and how simply the author creates a scene. You don’t even realize you’re being described to. Then, Gregg said, “What’s missing?”
I started thinking about it. I said, “Maybe some more feelings. It seems like there should be more feelings.”
He shook his head and said, “Faith.”
Faith! Faith is completely absent in these books. It’s not just a lack of faith or a replacement faith, but a total and complete absence of faith. How I didn’t realize that is beyond me.
Then I started thinking about how different these books would be WITH faith. You could have the same plot, the same actions and reactions. But, you would have an entirely different perspective of the main character. And, as I learned when I re-wrote my Sapphire Ice, a MUCH broader and more full character development.
It was an interesting perspective.
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Well said. When we include faith in our stories there will always be conflict because there is so much growth that needs to happen as our faith challenges us to look at life differently. I think that struggle resonates with readers!