I confess that I’m a terrible reader. Every time I pick up a book, I think, “This time I’ll read every word,” then sooner or later, I get bored and start skipping through.
“Why is the author taking so long to call the wagon green?”
“Okay, this character is stupid.”
“We get it already, they had a good time at the picnic.”
When I read out loud to the children, I adopt that bored, “Let’s get through this massive paragraph as quick as possible” monotone voice, and I’m afraid it’s pretty obvious that I don’t enjoy it.
It always feels like there’s a huge number of words getting in the way of the story, and I can’t remember the last time I found a book engrossing. Sometimes I could swear that authors actually want readers to skim over half of the novel, and throw in lots of filler just to look more impressive at first glance.
“In my book, it takes 800 pages for fifteen characters to make a single grilled cheese sandwich. It’s rich with subplots about running out of bread, taking bathroom breaks, and even falling in love. I also included numerous philosophical discussions about the merits of cheddar versus colby jack, and the different methods of toasting the bread. I included lots of poetry. There’s even a surprise plot twist where it turns out that half the characters are actually grilled cheese sandwiches themselves! The novel ends after the characters burn down the house and die because they tried to make it in the toaster.”
The funny thing is, when I read my own stories with the same method I use to read other novels, I do get the whole, “WOAH this story is progressing crazy fast!” feeling. My style really isn’t best experienced by charging through. I do always “test read” my stuff before putting it out there, and following the natural flow of my mind without trying to speed up or edit anything feels good to me, so that’s how I keep it.
I skip writing the stuff that I skip reading. Which is a lot. But hey, that also means that there isn’t anything for you to skip over either, because I’m probably WAY worse than you about that.