I recently finished the last book written by one of my favorite authors, so I tried picking up a few new books that were highly rated. Whenever I pick up a new book, I hold my breath and wait to be drawn into its world and to fall in love with its characters. Neither of the new books I read did this for me. They were both well written, but something was missing.
This led me to wondering why one books pulls me in and another doesn’t. I’ve given up thinking that only new ideas really hold my interest, because the truth is, everything seems to have been “done before”. I’ve even given up thinking it’s the inclusion of a new and intriguing character, because some of the books I’ve loved have pretty stereotypical characters.
Looking at the first book I read, it was a young adult novel with a character that is thrown into a fantastical world and realizes she has potential beyond what she ever imagined. It sounds like pretty much every other young adult novel, but many books with this plot have been incredible. But for this book, I just felt like I never connected with the character, and I never felt enough tension to be pulled in by the plot.
I am in the middle of the second book, and I have to really force myself to keep reading it. I swear I’ve read this exact book ten times already. It’s a standard plot with a standard character, but it’s also a very popular book. So I’ve come to realize, for every book, there is likely going to be someone who likes it and someone that doesn’t. But as writers, all we can do is to try our best to write something with characters that feel real, tension sizzling plots, and worlds that come alive.