Reading,  Writing World

Quest For A Great Read

Earlier this month A.S. Akkalon wrote a post about the kind of book she loves to read, and therefore loves to write, and I decided to hijack that idea and have some fun analyzing what I want out of a book over here. ^_^

First and Foremost: A ride! Adventure! I want to finish a book and feel like I’ve stepped off a virtual roller coaster, that I’ve been swept away into a world and immersed in it to the a point where it feels so real that I want to live there, but I’m glad I don’t at the same time because it’s dangerous. ๐Ÿ˜€

Genre: I love all kinds of paranormal in book form, but when it comes to writing, I’m more in the camp “out of the ordinary” paranormal than creature kind of paranormal. I consider creature paranormal to be things like vampires and shapeshifters, and we all know I love vampires, but I’d rather write non-creature supernatural stuff like ghosts, witches, crazy spirits, mutants, etc. I like magic, and I like Harry Potter magic, but when I say I want magic, I mean like old-school-style witchcraft, like characters with crazy abilities, manipulating elements, talking to spirits, ominous “entities,” though the magic doesn’t necessarily have to be right in a person’s face. I’m quite fond of a nice undercurrent of “otherness” that makes you feel like something crazy could happen at any time. No wands. Unless the wand is channeling lightning. I like “weird stuff” to happen, like a cursed object that traps you in your house. That sounds like fun, in a bookish kind of way.

Atmosphere: Dark and disturbing in a supernatural way. I like to describe it as “beautiful, sexy supernatural darkness.” I want a world that feels rich and beautiful, and I want to feel disturbed. I know that’s probably strange, but I like being a little creeped out while I’m reading. I want to wonder if someone’s reflection is going to move while they’re standing still or if there’s something lurking in that lake. I want to wonder if the characters are being stalked by a supernatural something, and I want to worry if they’re going to survive! It’s fun. ^_^ If no one is in danger, then why am I here?!

Plot: I can handle a slower paced plot if the general world is interesting to me, but I would prefer a faster-paced book, like, something that feels like things are actually happening from chapter to chapter. That said, I can’t handle books that open at 100 miles per hour, and I can’t do books that open at 3 miles per hour. I like romantic subplots, but only if they’re an asset to the main plot, and the whole thing doesn’t derail so two people can make lovey dovey faces at each other. I don’t need a happy ending, but I do need it feel complete. Like, I don’t want to get to the last page and the story isn’t finished (i.e. the main plot didn’t wrap up), or there are a bunch of loose ends, or I don’t know what just happened because the author is trying to “leave things up for interpretation.” It’s fine if those things exist, but they’re not my favorite.

Characters: I love a good villain! I want something to be afraid of and something to worry about (fun kind of anxiety), and it doesn’t have to be a person, but my preference is a person in some capacity. Like, not a storm system, which is fun for a movie, but in a book, I want like a ghost or spirit or bad guy or crazy chick or whatever to cause some mayhem and wreck the place! For main characters, I just want someone interesting, which is subjective, and I don’t want them to be anything like me, because I see myself everyday. Reading is fantasy for me. I want to be someone wicked and cool!

POV & Tense: In books, I don’t care. I read a short story a couple of years ago written in 2nd person, and it rocked my world! I will take anything. I like anything. The story and characters are more important than point-of-view or tense to me, though when it comes to writing, I’m a better writer when I write in first person, but I did third person for so long, I am very good at it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Before I go, MasterClass has given me a free annual pass to give away. If you want it, let me know. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, quick thanks to everyone for their writing support over the last couple of weeks! ^_^ Talking about everything has been a weight off my shoulders. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy last week of March! โ˜˜๏ธ


  • A.S. Akkalon

    This is fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing. Having read it, I have a really good feel for what you love in a book, though unfortunately no recommendations come to mind. I confess I enjoy a story with a great creepy feel to it as well, and I just love the phrase “beautiful, sexy supernatural darkness”.

  • Kristy A.

    Ooh fun! I love a good villain as well, even in romance books. There’s nothing like a good foe to stand in the way of happily ever after. Have you read A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness? It’s so so good. Vampires. Witches. Beautiful & Atmospheric writing. Romantic undertones. Right up your alley, I think. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I also can’t do books that end without the main plot wrapping up. I’m okay with loose ends and even cliffhangers, but the main plot HAS to wrap up or I’m pissed because I feel like I wasted my time.

  • Michelle Athy

    Oh, goodness! You have a really specific taste, I think, which is valuable to know about yourself. I have genre expectations (if it’s a romance, it has to have a happy ending. End of.) and favorite tropes and traits I hate in characters, but I’m…not very specific in what I like to read. I’m more picky about the things I write or want to write, because I’m aware of a) my own abilities and b) what I feel I can convey and conjure up well in my writing.

    • Krystal Jane

      It gives me life! I definitely donโ€™t have the broadest reading tastes. Haha. I like to experiment sometimes, but some kinds of stories, like contemporaries or thrillers oddly wear me out.

  • Jodi Perkins (@Perkjo)

    First — I want the annual pass to MasterClass pretty please (if you still have it)! I was going to request a subscription for my birthday.

    Second, I love this list. I want to hijack the whole thing for myself. Except for magic. Can you believe I’m not a fan of magic in stories? Not overt magic, anyway. (Kinda ironic given that my series features characters with magical powers.) I can handle magic if it’s subtle–like an ‘undercurrent of otherness’ the way you described, or if the magic is against a canvas of ordinary life and comes with a rationale for its existence (i.e. mythology roots, or maybe a SciFi explanation). Otherwise magic tends to feel like playing a game with someone who’s making up the rules as they go along, and I’ve read far too many books where the author used magic to solve everything, which is a yawn fest for me. I don’t want magic to solve the characters’ problems; I want the character to solve her problems.

    Your discussion on ‘atmosphere’ has me swooning. So much YES.

    • Krystal Jane

      MasterClass is yours! Iโ€™ll get an email to you this evening. ^_^

      An awesome atmosphere goes such a long way with me. Iโ€™m a huge fan of characters with powers! Especially if those powers get them into trouble. ๐Ÿ˜€ And I agree. If itโ€™s easy, itโ€™s not fun. Itโ€™s more satisfying to watch someone battle it out, though Iโ€™m okay if that battle involves characters throwing lightning at each other. Lol!

  • Thea Landen

    I’ve blogged about this before, but at this stage in my life with my limited reading time, I NEED a fast-paced plot to keep me turning the pages, or else I’ll get bored. I think I do better when I’m writing that way, too….

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