This is a really interesting topic as learning craft and writing for publication does change the way a writer reads. We notice wonderful writing: clever dialogue, breathtaking emotions, and brilliant metaphors. But when it comes to our own work, we tend to view our books as if they’re our children. We can’t possibly view them dispassionately. That’s the reason we need editors! Some writers also have critique partners who review their work.
I’m far pickier in my reading selections than I was before I started writing. Usually I can tell if I’ll like a particular writer’s voice (writing style) after reading as little as one paragraph. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the book is flawed—quite the contrary. In most cases, I’ll recognize the author’s talent, but for reasons that mystify me, I’m not emotionally engaged with the characters. Furthermore, I’ll often see reader reviews that praise the heartrending emotions in books that simply didn’t touch me in the same way. It’s as simple—and as complicated--as personal taste.
We all come to the reading table with expectations, preferences, and hot buttons (issues that we personally cannot tolerate). If an author doesn’t satisfy on those counts for any particular reader, then the reader isn’t likely to be fully engaged in the characters or the plot. In addition, the tone of a book is very reader-centric in terms of preferences. I’ll use myself as an example. A few years ago, everyone was talking about a very dark Young Adult novel. I happen to love Young Adult novels. In this case, the buzz about the book was so strong that it led me to buy the novel, even though I had misgivings about the dark tone. Keep in mind that this book sold exceptionally well. But it was the wrong type of book for me. I prefer a strong dose of humor and hope in the books I read. After slogging through fifty pages, I couldn’t take another minute of it. I concluded I’m the wrong target market for dystopian novels and never opened the book again. Clearly, it is a wonderful novel and well-deserving of the praise it received. It just wasn’t for me.
Overall, I believe my thoughts as a reader have changed as a result of my writing. I think a bit more when I’m reading and tend to speculate as to why a writer took a certain path. Most of all, however, I try to simply enjoy the experience of a romance novel. There is something especially lovely about a genre that celebrates the strength of women.
May the Magic Romance Fairies be with you!