And now, to spice up this blog ... controversy!

Oh, don't worry, I'm not going to talk politics or, even worse, the use of a double space after a period.  (You can have my double space when you take it out of my cold, dead, and Oxford-comma-laden hands, though.)  Instead, I'm going to talk about a decision I made as a reader of fiction.

For over a decade now, I've committed to finishing every book I start.  I might dislike the main character, hate a plot twist or find the prose sluggish, but I will forge onwards.  I do this for two reasons:

1.  I remember very distinctly when I made this resolution:  I was reading Terry Brook's Running With The Demon and was getting bored with it.  It wasn't going anywhere.  Then it hit page 51 (roughly) and took off, and at the time was one of my favorite reads.  So at least with the early phases of a book, I don't want to miss something wonderful because I didn't stick with it.

2.  As a writer, I feel I can learn as much - if not more - from what I didn't like in a book.  It helps me define what *not* to do, which in some ways is a lot easier than figuring out what I *should* do.  I find value in translating what annoys me as a reader into tips for me as a writer.  That includes differentiating between a plot twist that might anger a reader in the moment, but objectively increase their investment in the book, versus a plot twist that's ... just bad.  In my opinion, at least!

Now, I won't say that I'll keep this routine forever, and I'm sure there are special circumstances that might derail it, such as very disturbing / objectionable material.  I do ultimately read for entertainment first.  And it has had a few downsides; I have some longer books that I haven't picked up because I'm leery of getting "stuck" in them.  But overall, I'm happy with how it's impacted both my reading and my writing.