The Odin Protocol OR The Writer, Goofing Off

So, last night, I gave myself a scare.  I picked up Cygnus, and pressed the On button, meaning to reading another paragraph or two of Stealing the Elf King’s Roses.  But what came up was not the Galaxy 7.0 Plus home screen, but an Android standing over the words,

DOWNLOAD IN PROCESS
Do not turn off target!

…while in teensy tiny print up in the left-hand corner, it said, ODIN PROTOCOL…and some other things I can’t remember right now.

OhmyghodIbrokemytablet, is what I said.  Steve thought matters were less dire, which is how we work — in any given situation, I believe The Worst and Steve believes the Best.  Rarely are either of us right.

So, anyway, back to the computer to look up ODIN PROTOCOL, which seemed to fall somewhere between dire and awful.  I logged into the Samsung page, tried to email support, but the drop-downs were broken, pinged live chat and got Henry, whose solution to the problem was a hard reboot.  Which, I figured, if I was going to do that, I might as well…just…lean…really…hard…and…long on the Off button, and hold my breath.

…which I did and!  The tablet rebooted and all is well.

Cabana boy!  A glass of wine over here for the grey-haired lady with the cool tech!

Phew.

So, anyway.  This morning, I spent a couple, three hours formatting Legacy Systems (an eChapbook containing “Intelligent Design” and “The Space at Tinsori Light”) for Smashthing.  It is now up and live, right here   Thanks very much to Smashconsumers, for your patience.

“Tinsori Light” has, yes, been taken down from Splinter Universe.  And, no; there’s no paper edition of this volume.  Still haven’t figured it out.

While I was formatting “Tinsori Light,” I bethought me of something a reader told me at Boskone last week.  As I was reading it aloud, she told me, she noticed that there were things going on in “Tinsori Light” that she had missed when she had read it to herself, because she had been so eager to “get the story.”

This intrigues me.  I am not, myself, a fast reader, and, as a writer, I sort of hold the opinion that writers put all those words down in a specific order for a reason.  Certainly, if there were a way not to have to write 100,000 words to hit Novel, and speaking as someone who is well-known to be lazy, I’d be perfectly pleased to do that.

So, you fast readers — how do you read “for the story” and how do you know which words are important?  This is a serious question.

Note:  I’m not dissing the woman I talked to; we had a nice chat about reading protocols and the difference between reading to one’s self and reading aloud to an audience, and she helped me forget that my cellphone was dying, so it was all good; but the conversation did get me wondering…which, yanno, may be less good.

Or not.

So –?

7 thoughts on “The Odin Protocol OR The Writer, Goofing Off”

  1. It is hard to control what your reader has decided is “the story” and what are to them errant rabbit trails. It very well may be that the rabbit trails ARE the story for other people. Or if they paid closer those trails would become more important to them as was the case with the person at your reading.

    I remembering reading the Jonathan Strange book years back and talking to someone who had skipped over all of the footnotes because they didn’t see why they were important. I nearly blew a gasket. The footnotes were marvelous and to me were essential to the story. For the other person they weren’t worth the effort because the payoff wasn’t immediately apparent and their commitment level wasn’t high enough to accommodate some seemingly random facts.

    When you are working in a large universe with a lot of characters and interests that big universe should be apparent. Hopefully not to the point people are skimming ahead, but without that scope it would be a different feeling book. Some people need to be hand-held through the story more than others though. You don’t want to make your reader to do excessive amounts of work but that is on a reader to reader basis.

    My attention span accounts for things that aren’t immediately relevant and sometimes not relevant until the next book even. The more I read from an author and trust them the more I allow for this. And it can be fun to reach a point where trail circles back into the larger story and it adds to the fullness of the tale. I might not allow that much when reading a first book from someone. It depends. I don’t think there is much to do about it, especially if you are successful. To change it up could change the feel of the story/universe and that wouldn’t be good either.

  2. I try to have it both ways. My first read is fast and story-focused. Thinking about it, I latch on to a favorite character and focus on her. Once I finish the book, if I liked it I start over and enjoy the writing. I love the detail in your books even if I don’t fully appreciate it the first time around.

    I think you strike a very good balance. There are some authors whose work I enjoy and admire, but I put off reading because it’s too much of a commitment unless I have a lot of time available. There are also some I used to like that I’ve stopped reading because they can’t restrain themselves. Your books are cohesive and engaging without making me think you needed a stronger editor.

  3. When I’m reading a book I’ve been looking forward to from an author who’s on my “buy it immediately” list, I tend to read it through very quickly the first time. I really, really want to see what happens to the characters I know and care about. It’s not quite peeking at the end of the book to see how it turns out, but close. If I like the way the book turns out (the author doesn’t kill off my favorite character or do something else I hate) I’m likely to start the book over again and read more slowly. Or I’ll go back to the start of the series and read all the way through.

    With a new author, or one I read only casually, I’m more likely to read more slowly the first time through – because it’s not as likely there will be a second or third time. Of course, if I decide I don’t really care about the characters, I’ll revert to reading quickly just to see how it turns out.

    Mary in MN

  4. I read fast. I have always read fast. However, as a fast reader, I firmly believe I read every word. I admire the language, the uses thereof, the rhythm, the way it is used to describe things. I will pause to savor a particular turn of phrase. I will, at the end, enjoy a sense of fulfillment that a story with compelling plot and adequate language skills does not impart. (Compelling plot and poor language are incompatible to me.)

    When listening to something read aloud, for me, the experience is very much less about story than about community. A chance to respond, to laugh, to be in suspense, to anticipate with a community of those who admire the authors I do. This is because I do not process audio input well. I am very much a visual learner. I do not do audible books, because I cannot follow the story that way.

    I think, perhaps, you may have encountered a person whose primary processing is hearing, and so hearing a story read aloud would give her so much more.

  5. My theory is that if I read fast and miss things, it’ll be fresh reading for at least the first three reads 🙂

    Seriously, I like reading slow, and sometimes aloud, because I seem to get a richer experience of the story. Savor the moment!

  6. What Hillary and Mary Chamberlain said. I quickly skim for an overall idea of what the story is about, and if I am sufficiently engaged I’ll immediately start re-reading for detail, often without even putting the book down first.

    Also, Sweetbo makes a good point about the level of commitment the reader brings to the story.

  7. Dialog is the story. If there’s multiple pages without dialog (for example, descriptions of battles and weapons), I find myself skimming without making a conscious choice to do so.

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