Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Falling by Diane Burton

I had a great post about Fall all written. In my head. As I was falling asleep. Can I remember it? Of course not. If I remember, I can always use it for my post on the 30th. That doesn’t help at 11 pm the night before my post is due.

So I’m going to free associate. Remember doing that in creative writing class?

Falling leaves. Falling temperatures. Yeppers, Fall is here.

But those thoughts weren't my first when I thought about falling. It was the TV show “Falling Skies.” When it came out three summers ago, I thought it was boring. Sorry, Steven Spielberg. But, apparently, it had a following. Hubs discovered the show this summer and we found back episodes on Amazon Prime. After those few episodes (the boring ones I remember), the show got better. Maybe I should have given the show more of a chance.

Not that TV execs gave “Firefly” such a chance. Fourteen episodes. That’s all. I guess Steven Spielberg has more clout than Joss Whedon. I know, past history. But Browncoats have long memories. (See what I mean about free association?)

Speaking of giving a TV show a chance, what about books? “They” say, if an editor isn’t hooked within the first five pages (or sometimes the first page) the manuscript will be rejected. I’ll give a book a little longer than that. Case in point: I belonged to a book club and a friend raved so much about Anne Tyler that I gave one of her books over fifty pages before giving up. My friend kept encouraging me to give Tyler another chance. When I finally read The Accidental Tourist, I finally got why my friend liked the books. I didn’t read another, but I did give the author more of a chance than I usually do.

The way I see it, I have so many books on my Kindle—and so many stories to write—I’m never going to get to them all. A book has to hook me by the end of the second chapter (maybe a third) or I’ll move on to the next book. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by books from unknown (to me) authors and disappointed by some best-sellers. My theory is why waste time slogging through a book that doesn’t appeal to me?

How about you? How much of a chance do you give a book?

Diane Burton blogs here on the 8th and 30th of each month and on Mondays on her own site: 



Margo Hoornstra said...

Good question. I'll go at least through the first chapter. It is amazing how some of the books (authors) we expect to be great are clinkers and the ones we have low expectations for turn out to be great. Maybe it's the unexpected we seek.

Diane Burton said...

Good point, Margo. I love being pleasantly surprised.

Alicia Dean said...

I'll confess, lately, I haven't given a book more than a few pages. Not that it has to have a big hook or anything, but if I don't find the writing or characters engaging in the first few pages, I move on. Like you, I have way, way too many books to read (and write) without wasting my time on a book that doesn't grab me, at least in a small way. Nice post for a last minute attempt. :) I am so ready for Fall!!! BTW, I haven't watched any of those sci-fi shows you mentioned, but I've certainly heard good things about Firefly. Wonder why it was canceled?

Barbara Edwards said...

I have the same problem: too many books and too little time. I love to read, but the hours in the day are so filled with writing, family and the dreaded housework.
I have taken the step of reading about five pages and if the book doesn't catch my interest I actually take it off my kindle. Not that its gone since it goes to the big iCloud in the sky. If I ever have a day when I change my mind its waiting

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I heard wonderful things about this book...funny, steamy, well-written. I bought the thing and the smart-mouthed heroine was literally tstl (too stupid to live). She was so intent on making her point and throwing out zingers that weren't funny at all that when a police office was shot in front of her, she showed no concern for him. I deleted the book, which has oodles of 5 star reviews, by the way, from my Kindle. Sometimes it worries me about the junk readers fall in love with or maybe I'm still in awe of older writers of times past.

Jannine Gallant said...

I don't have time to read much. Somehow all my reading time is now taken up with writing or editing or promo... Since the family still expects to eat and have clean clothes, I can't sacrifice that time for reading...yet. My point is, I better love the book in the first couple of pages or I won't read it. No big hook is necessary up front. I want to love the author's voice. If I do, I keep going. But I better find the characters and plot "read-worthy" darn quick, or I won't finish. Good grief, I hope the people picking up my books aren't that harsh! Yikes! Thanks for making me think (i.e. giving me a complex about this) Diane!

KatB said...

Great post, Diane! I actually usually try to read a whole book, no matter what. Maybe because I feel bad for the author if I don't like it - books are darned hard to write and just because I didn't enjoy it, doesn't mean other folks shouldn't! There are a few I've put down, though...

Diane Burton said...

Alicia, Firefly had Nathan Fillion (Castle) and was a lot of fun. No idea why it was cancelled.

Barb, like you I don't have that much time to read. I usually do at night or waiting in doctor's offices.

Vonnie, I know what you mean. In Monday's episode of Castle when he went into a warehouse at NIGHT, I told Hubs Castle was tstl.

Jannine, you family expects to eat? Really, how inconsiderate. :) Too many books, too little time.

Kristen, you are so sweet. Some books just aren't my cup of tea so I move on. I figure the author got their money so I don't feel too bad.

Rolynn Anderson said...

So many thoughts. When we pick books for book club, I try to READ THE WHOLE THING...even if I skim some parts. AHAB'S WIFE...lots of skimming. Once a book has made its way to my hands, I usually am a the end...reader. Do I put down books after a quarter through or so...yes...BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES. I have to care about the characters and what happens to them.

I read books while I's a good way to compartmentalize and keep up on my reading!

Leah St. James said...

I loved Firefly! Great show, canceled far too quickly! I'm like Jannine, I fall in love with an author's voice and can pretty much read anything by that person. If I don't like the voice, it's a struggle, regardless of plot or genre, or anything else. (Agreed on the warehouse scene in the recent Castle episode, BTW. A sharp reader would pounce on that one!)

Donna Michaels said...

Great post, Diane. Between family and writing and promoting, I have too much to do all the time, so if I'm not hooked by the end of the first chapter, I move on. Time is too precious a commodity to waste on a book or movie or TV show if it doesn't have that special something from the start.

Firefly? That certainly had that special something! I have the series on DVD, and Serenity. I'm a huge Sci-fi fan. Not into Falling Skies, but do love Doctor Who! I miss Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis. Maybe something new will appear to fill that hole soon. :-)