Posted in books

2021 Reading Challenge

Last year I set a reading challenge for myself to read twenty-four books. That ended up being a wash, in part due to a string of DNF-worthy books that killed my reading mood early on in the year. The other part of that was because I left it a little too broad for myself, which lead me to looking at most of my books through loopholes.

I’m still aiming for twenty-four books this year, but I’ve restructured slightly, adding in monthly themes. In order to qualify as part of my reading challenge, a book needs to meet at least one of the monthly themes. Bonus points are of course, awarded for meeting two or more categories.

Plot: Based off my handy-dandy plot list, to qualify the book in question needs to have a main plot based on the one chosen for the month. I.e. in January my plot of choice is revenge. If the main plot doesn’t feature some of revenge or seeking revenge, it’s won’t qualify. Since I won’t always know what the plot is until I’ve read the book, back cover copy is key here.

Location: Travel is still off the table in real-life, but there’s no reason I can’t pick another location to read about. I’m trying to alternate between general locations like ‘beach’ or ‘woods’ and specifics like Berlin and Seoul.  The story must be predominantly set in the given location in order to qualify.

Word: If it has the word in the title, it qualifies. Variants are allowed but only if they’re a variant of the same word. Fire, for instance, counts under fired, but not under flame.

Image: I know the saying is that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but some covers are simply stunning! Hence, if the image on the cover matches the theme, it can still qualify for the challenge.

Although I’m only aiming for twenty-four books for the year, I went with four categories every month, both to give myself a little room and on the off-chance I get more than two books read.

January Themes

Plot: Revenge

Location: Woods

Word: Door

Image: Fire

What will you be reading in January?

Posted in blogging

Checking In on Goals

With all the insanity that comes up when moving, I feel like my entire routine has been thrown out of the window. I haven’t managed to get much sorted out for June and realized when I made Monday’s post that I’d completely forgotten to prep any prompts for this month as well.

Since I need to get back into my routine I wanted to also take a moment to reassess my organization and where I am with my goals for the year. Admittedly, it’s not looking great, which is somewhat disappointing.

I started out the year with a self-set reading challenge of twenty-four new books. Unfortunately, I haven’t been doing so great on that score. Although I’ve read around ten or eleven books, all but three have been rereads. While I could still try and rush through and finish all twenty-four by the end of the year, I don’t think that would be wise, so I’m instead opting to cut back down to a mere twelve new books.

I also wanted to publish at least two stories published this year. Crimson and Gold came out in January, and I have another project I’m looking to possibly start discussing and showing in July. For my publication goals, I’m pretty pleased with where things stand.

Also! Crimson and Gold is available through Kindle Unlimited and will also be free on July 4th and 5th.

Although I’m not meeting all of the goals I set for myself, I’m still really pleased with where things stand for right now. There’s plenty of time to wrap things up. Although I’m missing the prompts for June it’s given me a good chance to reorganize and sort out some of my older posts and plan ahead.

How are you feeling about your goals?

Posted in books

Reasons for a DNF

If you’re not familiar with the term DNF it’s short for Did Not Finish. I’ve seen it a lot in the book community, and even some posts on specific books as to why they ended up being on the DNF list. After looking over my own DNF list, I realized there were a few key things that ended up causing me to put the book aside.

Too Many PoVs This one is very subjective, however for me, there’s a limit of how many characters are needed to tell the story. If you’re introducing a new point of view in almost every chapter, there’s too many views to follow along. I don’t need to know every character and their side of the story, I want to know why I should care about the main character.

A variation on that is also late introduction to PoV characters. I’ve had two separate stories where I got halfway or better into the story only to be blindsided by an entirely new PoV character.

Dumb Characters I really wanted to put it some other way besides ‘dumb’ because that feels harsh but that’s what it came down to. In both of my most recent DNF additions, the lack of basic thought on part of the main characters heavily contributed to the book being put aside.

This isn’t just a case of a character who isn’t academically smart or who simply doesn’t think very quickly. This has been a case of characters following questionably sound logic, or outright ignoring the very obvious signs that they are the Chosen One, their friend is a vampire or anything else that might be painfully obvious to the reader. It’s also a case of characters not asking the obvious and important questions–like how everyone knows they’re the Chosen One, or how everyone knows their friend is a vampire.

Lack of Plot This one is a really minor complaint. I’m personally much more drawn to character driven stories, but when the progress on solving the main conflict is largely characters rehashing what they know or going about their day-to-day lives doing their jobs while the side characters around them are off doing important plot-worthy things, it’s frustrating and it’s boring.

Inaccuracy Again, this is a very minor thing. Getting every detail about a place you’ve never been or a food you’ve never tasted is hard. Even getting every detail about an experience you’ve had can be hard. And the only reason this ended up on the list is because it ended up being the entire reason for a DNF within the first chapter.

Inaccuracy in facts does happen–but when it happens across almost every fact, it makes me feel like you haven’t done your job as a writer. And trust me, I know that’s a hard job (it’s one I pursue myself). It doesn’t take long to google how large an animals is, what kind of fish can be found in an area, that tigers can swim and which plants are actually poisonous.

These are all reasons for my personal DNF’s. They’re not a guarantee that every book out there with these things will be a DNF, it’s just some of the more common or stronger reasons for certain books to be put aside.

What are some of your reasons for a DNF?

Posted in Exercises

Reading Challenges

I mentioned when I posted about the goals I was setting for 2020 that one of the places I’d taken the hardest hit on was my reading. I had several months after May where I didn’t read anything outside of nonfiction articles, and only a couple of short fiction stories for the most part of the end of the year.

To fix that, I want to give myself a reading challenge this year. Normally I don’t track how much or what I’m reading, but I’m hoping that tracking it will let me get back on track and reading more.

Because I know part of the trouble has been on having time to read, I’m keeping it fairly low. The aim for this year is to read a total of 24 books.

  • 12 newly published books
  • 3 in genres I don’t normally read
  • 6 from indie authors
  • 3 digital books

I’m planning on keeping track of this in my planner, though I know a lot of people use places like Goodreads. I may also check out some of the book subscription boxes as a sort of blind date with a book.

What are you challenging yourself to read this year?

Posted in books

2021 Reading Challenge

Last year I set a reading challenge for myself to read twenty-four books. That ended up being a wash, in part due to a string of DNF-worthy books that killed my reading mood early on in the year. The other part of that was because I left it a little too broad for myself, which lead me to looking at most of my books through loopholes.

I’m still aiming for twenty-four books this year, but I’ve restructured slightly, adding in monthly themes. In order to qualify as part of my reading challenge, a book needs to meet at least one of the monthly themes. Bonus points are of course, awarded for meeting two or more categories.

Plot: Based off my handy-dandy plot list, to qualify the book in question needs to have a main plot based on the one chosen for the month. I.e. in January my plot of choice is revenge. If the main plot doesn’t feature some of revenge or seeking revenge, it’s won’t qualify. Since I won’t always know what the plot is until I’ve read the book, back cover copy is key here.

Location: Travel is still off the table in real-life, but there’s no reason I can’t pick another location to read about. I’m trying to alternate between general locations like ‘beach’ or ‘woods’ and specifics like Berlin and Seoul.  The story must be predominantly set in the given location in order to qualify.

Word: If it has the word in the title, it qualifies. Variants are allowed but only if they’re a variant of the same word. Fire, for instance, counts under fired, but not under flame.

Image: I know the saying is that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but some covers are simply stunning! Hence, if the image on the cover matches the theme, it can still qualify for the challenge.

Although I’m only aiming for twenty-four books for the year, I went with four categories every month, both to give myself a little room and on the off-chance I get more than two books read.

January Themes

Plot: Revenge

Location: Woods

Word: Door

Image: Fire

What will you be reading in January? Any reading challenges for the year?