Reading hasn’t been the same since I started writing full-length novels. With two manuscripts written (one of them still in rough draft), I’ve had a difficult time returning to reading. Everything just looks different on the page.
One of the things I’ve become painfully aware of is the lack of outlining most authors do. I’d be surprised if half of them even know where the story’s going. I used to think books that had uneven pacing, or resorted to deus ex machina solutions, were the product of poor initial ideas… but now I see that these authors just didn’t know how to wrap up their babies.
I’ve had plenty of writers tell me that their characters do their “own thing,” writing dialog that the author didn’t see coming, making large actions that weren’t expected, and this is often painfully obvious in their final product.
Thank gods for The Reader, then. I don’t have to worry about any of this. The beauty of non-fiction is that you just have to tell the story, not worry about it jumping the rails or getting itself stuck.