Thursday, December 09, 2010

When you just want to skip ahead...

I’ve praised my new Kindle up and down the wazoo. Being able to carry around my manuscript and make notes on it was huge. Being able to download any book I wanted whenever I wanted it - also huge… and expensive.

However, I have discovered a flaw. I can’t skip ahead. Now I know there are go-tos and search options but that’s not what I’m talking about. There are times in a book especially those with multiple storylines where I get anxious as to where the one storyline is taking me. I need to flip ahead a couple of pages, or chapters, to get a glimpse of what’s coming.

Sometimes all I need is seeing two names on the same page to let me know that the characters were able to find each other again. Sometimes I need more.

I remember the final book of Harry Potter when Ron takes off. That was the only time in that book I let myself skip ahead. But I needed to know how much further I needed read before he was back because I certainly wasn’t stopping until I knew he’d found Harry again.

The people I eat lunch with every day think this is insane. They also think it’s strange for me who is both a writer and avid reader that I would commit what they consider to be a reading violation. But I think it has to do with how invested I am in the story and in the characters. I feel their anxiousness. I worry and stress about the resolution of a romantic battle.

In life I can’t always know what’s coming next. I have to wait and let it play out. But with a book – I can cheat. It never stops me from reading the whole thing but it does give me peace of mind.

Or at least it did before I got my Kindle. I’m towards the end of the latest JR Ward and all I want to know is if Blay is going to sleep with Saxton. That’s it. Just that. Nothing else matters. And it’s killing me to have to read every single page until I get there!

What about you… do you skip ahead?


Karen W said...

I'm the opposite - I never skip ahead. Ok, maybe not never, but the ONLY time I skip ahead is when a book is boring the hell out of me and I want to see if there is any point to continue reading it.
Like the new John Grisham. OMG. Normally I can't put his books down. Not the case with this one.

BTW - I have your book on my kindle. I've read some, but have line edits. I plan to get back to it next week. I hope I'm not too late!

Maureen McGowan said...

Steph this is so funny. I would consider this a "reading violation" too.

Not that I actually think there is such a thing.
The only time I flip ahead in a book is to find the next chapter break to decide whether to put the book down immediately (if I'm tired or need to start doing something else) or if I'm almost at a chapter end.

But I'm in love with my kindle, too. I haven't tried reading my own manuscript on it, yet, but think I will with this one, especially after hearing that you liked the experience.

One of the biggest challenges I have when starting revisions is to leave the words alone and just read for story. I'm hoping kindle will help with that.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I totally skipped around in those Ward books - did not care about the lesser POV. But other than that the only book I skipped ahead in was Time Traveller's Wife - the agony of knowing what was going to happen and not the when was just too much and THEN when I found out when - the crying started so I sobbed for the last 60 pages of that whole book.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Maureen - while I did love carrying my work around on the Kindle - it didn't really help with just letting myself read. I was too keyed in on typos, clunky stuff - that kind of thing. But I found making notes as I went very easy.

So I finally got the conclusion of the Blay/Quinn/Sax storyline... HATED IT!!!! I'm so upset now. I don't even know if I'll finish the book.

It's that investment thing. On to Iron Duke.

What's crazy about my Kindle love... I actually have TBR books on my shelf and I'm thinking of re-buying them "e". That will make a few authors really happy!!!

My other fear though - is if I bought an "e" book - and wanted to "re-read" it which I do with a lot of my keeper books. I can't see me being able to do that. Same problem - especially with re-reads - you definitely want to skip around.

Eileen said...

I ALWAYS skip ahead. Always. Otherwise it just gets too stressful. I need to know if people are going to be okay or not.

People are often shocked by this. They seem to think it somehow ruins the reading experience. I think it enhances it. If I know the end of the journey, I can appreciate the subtle road signs the author sprinkles along the way.

And oh poor Molly! Next time we're together we can discuss The Time Traveler's Wife and sit and bawl our eyes out together.

Sinead M said...

I admit I skip ahead and then always feel guilty about it...

Eileen said...

Own it, Sinead. Cast the guilt aside. Be a skipper and be proud!

Stephanie Doyle said...

Here here! You said it Eileen. I can't handle the stress.

Don't feel guilty Sinead.

I used to feel guilty about not finishing a book. The worst books I would try to slug my way through. Not anymore. Too many books too little time.

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