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Apr 7

55 Reading Questions

Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 in Literature

1. Favorite childhood book?
2. What are you reading right now?
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
4. Bad book habit?
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
6. Do you have an e-reader?
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)?
10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
13. Can you read on the bus?
14. Favorite place to read?
15. What is your policy on book lending?
16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
18. Not even with text books?
19. What is your favourite language to read in?
20. What makes you love a book?
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
22. Favorite genre?
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
24. Favourite biography?
25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
26. Favourite cookbook?
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
28. Favorite reading snack?
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
35. Favorite Poet?
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
38. Favorite fictional character?
39. Favourite fictional villain?
40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
52. Name a book that made you angry.
53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

Dec 25

The beta reader who disappeared

Posted on Tuesday, December 25, 2007 in Writing

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, Tonica actually had a beta reader. It was just one, but it does mean a lot to have at least one other person who reads your stories. Best of all is if this person (ok, let’s be honest here, this girl) knows the fandom the story is set in. If it’s an original story, your beta reader can point out spelling and grammar mistakes. Hopefully.

My beta reader (I won’t name her) simply got tired of it. Got tired of my stories, of me, I don’t know, I guess it was something. It feels really sad not to have any audience at all anymore. Sure one or two visitors still drop in now and again, but almost all of those (the few who do come) stay for a few seconds.

Apparently, I’ve failed to reach the audience. Or my writing has deteriorated. Or the readers have tired of what I’m writing. I really don’t know what the problem is. It almost feels unreal to remember that my homepage – Agri Sublunares – former The Sublunar Fields – former Tonica’s World – once used to bring in hundreds of visitors every week.

My fics are mentioned on some of the great fandom sites. Yes, without me first getting in touch to ask them for a link exchange. Of course I linked to them right away, if I wasn’t already doing that, which I mostly did. Two people have used my fics in their theses.

And now no one wants to look at my stories. It feels a little sad, but I guess that’s how it goes. I was going to make a video podcast (a little movie) and put on the site. If it isn’t too late already. Besides, I was going to make this movie with my beta reader and (what do you call them again, oh, right, I remember now) a friend. Right, never mind.

This post might just as well have been called The readers who disappeared, but that’s enough misery for today. Writing still happens to be my very favorite thing to do in the whole world, closely followed by reading, even if it might sound a little insular to be sitting around, reading my own stories.

Dec 9

Improving your writing

Posted on Sunday, December 9, 2007 in Writing

If you feel a bit unsure about spelling and grammar, what should you do? That depends. Do you care? Do you want to improve your writing? If you do, there’s a lot you can do.

What’s most important is to realize there’s a problem and be prepared to change.

1. Use the spellcheck function in your word processing program.

2. Re-read your text a couple of times. Just posting your work somewhere without editing doesn’t give a good impression at all.

3. Ask a friend to read what you’ve written. Two people can find more mistakes than one. This is something very simple. If you don’t have a friend who is better at this than you are, ask a teacher, parent or other relative, or ask someone online to be your beta reader.

4. You can read a book (or books) about spelling and/or grammar. Do your homework. This doesn’t have to be boring. It’s up to you to decide how much you can take in at a time. No teacher is going to grade you. You’re the one who says when you’ve had enough.

5. Perhaps you can take a creative writing course or a course of English, if you want the largest possible audience (of course all this depends on your nationality/ethnic group). If you’re a native English speaker there might still be courses about your own language. Check it out. This might be the most strenuous thing you can do to improve your writing, but also the most useful except for the following hint.

6. Read. As many books as possible. Fiction, non-fiction. Anything really. Jane Austen. A mystery. Harry Potter. Read whatever you enjoy.

Reading doesn’t just help you improve your language skills, it also gives you more to write about. There’s just one thing you have to be aware of. It’s difficult, perhaps impossible to write science fiction, or a thriller if you only read romances or vice versa. ‘Write about what you know’. This is very good advice.

That doesn’t mean you have to write about what you yourself have experienced. You can also write about what you’ve read a lot about. Or heard about from others. That doesn’t mean any gossip you might have picked up on the bus or at work. I’m talking about what you might have heard from a relative or a friend about a particular country/culture, profession, hobby etc. If you want to write about something you don’t know much about you will have to do research.

So read a lot. In fact not just books. The queen of mystery writing, Agatha Christie, once mentioned how important it is to read newspapers and magazines. It certainly can’t do any harm. Nowadays we also have radio, tv (including tele-text) and the internet. Keep up do date with the latest news. Go to the movies and/or watch DVD:s too.

7. This is something I haven’t tried myself, but I’ve been told that joining a critique group is a good idea. If you know other people who write or are willing to read and critique your work, this might be extremely useful. Getting feedback on your stories is vital. Just remember that other people aren’t divine. If you’ve seriously considered the critique and still don’t agree, just forget it. But in general you might want to be open to the fact that what you’re writing isn’t always perfect right away. No one starts out perfect.


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