Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How Do You Come Up With Your Ideas?

As I was walking around the office building parking lot today, loosening my joints after sitting at my desk for hours on end, I thought about the book I am currently reading and how I'll approach my review.

That thought stimulated the next line of questioning ... how do my author friends approach their next short story or book?

That question morphed into an observation about my book review writings ... maybe this is real writing after all! I take my book reviews very seriously.

When I share my thoughts and observations with my friends on Goodreads and Facebook about the books I've read, it truly feels like creative writing. I must tell a story about a story without spoilers or revelations that will ruin the experience for potential readers. Regurgitating a book's plot like a grade school book report in my view is not a book review at all but you would be amazed how many book reviewers follow that format.

I purposely include some bits and pieces of a story in my reviews, mentioning character's names and places, relationships and perspectives and snippets of the plot but the bulk of my missives are about my relationship to the book and the author's ability to engage me with characters that come alive and feel like they are part of my everyday life. The best books are those that I hate to finish because I know those beloved characters will be gone, like a lost friend, a forbidden love!

For me, the quality of a literary adventure is all about feelings and emotions they evoke in me. Which circles me back to my morning thoughts about my next review.

I'm on page 204 of Delilah of Sunhats and Swans by Melissa Volker. The emotional descriptors that come to mind thus far include comforting, insightful, whimsical, nostalgic, compassionate, longing, profound, prophetic, mystic, spiritual, ethereal ... Delilah feels like everything and nothing at the same time. She is playful and serious, kind but full of hurt. At times Delilah feels like the mystical wisp of a kindred specter and at other times a simple, pragmatic eighteen year old woman far to insightful and sage for her young age. Sometimes I am certain Delilah is supernatural spirit and other times I feel the intense pain for her mortal flesh and bones ... it feels really nice so far! 

The beginning of my next review!


  1. Great piece. you are write about a reviewer. It requires the same thing to review someone's writing as it does to write it. The creative mind and process is different for everyone. The act of creating something from a blank page is amazing.

  2. This is great. And I, for one, must express and exuberant THANK YOU for being a reviewer that does NOT give the plot away or write a synopsis...it's something frighteningly common even in paid services! I subscribe to the same "no plot" approach to back cover blurbs. Wanna know the story? Read the book!
    And finally -- thank you so much for reading Delilah! That was my first, and something of "lightning in a bottle" in many ways for me. She was hard to let go.