2014 has been a very busy year for me in terms of reading and writing. I did the JuNoWriMo challenge, the August writing challenge, and the September writing challenge. Whew!
JuNoWriMo was the toughest. It's essentially the same "write 50,000 words in a month" goal as NaNoWriMo. And I succeeded. I wrote a complete rough draft of a steam punk, archaeological adventure story. It still needs a lot of work, but I'm basking in the achievement anyway. I've never been able to complete NaNoWriMo before, probably because of the time of year. In June, my kids are out of school and I have more free time than in November.
When I realized the difference, I thought maybe I should make better use of my summer for writing? I started another new book in August and worked on it through September, with the help and encouragement of the folks at Writing Challenge.org . Their challenge is a little less rigorous - 500 words a day. That manuscript is still under construction, but it's at least 30,000 words already. Maybe by the end of 2014, I will have written 100,000 words? Exciting!
I've been feeling the past few years like I haven't been reading enough fiction, so I also signed up this year to read 20 books on Goodreads, another challenge. In all honesty, I'm behind on my goal (12 out of 20 so far) and I might not make it, but I've read some good books so I consider it a success too. If you want to see what've I've read recently, check out Goodreads and friend me there.
I was comparing and contrasting what I've enjoyed and what I haven't, trying to understand what works for me and what doesn't and pin pointing exactly "why".
Here's what I've found I like: overcoming adversity, seemingly unrelated stories that eventually relate, mystery, love/romance, fantastical elements, humor, strength of character, gothic creepiness, and the gothic/steampunky time period.
My reading dislikes: random gross elements for shock value, characters telling me what's happening without telling me how they feel about it, and stories with a complete lack of any characters with redeeming qualities.
I've read "adult" and "young adult" and come to the conclusion that the difference between the two is not the sophistication of the subject matter, but the general outlook. Young adult is usually more hopeful. Adult can be too, but sometimes it tends toward a more dour or realistic outlook. I myself tend to gravitate toward the hopeful end of the spectrum, which is probably why I write ya. I read and write to be delighted and entertained.
What do you like to read and why?