Background story:
My husband’s FAVORITE series is the Sword of Truth series. He’s read all of them, and thinks they’re just the best. Because I’m a book person, and he’s a book person, we tend to talk books. So, once he found this amazing series, he wanted me to read it too. Understandable and happens all the time BUT … I HATE THIS SERIES SO MUCH I CAN’T STAND IT. I’ve spent the last almost 3 years trying to get through it and I’m mid-way through book 2. There are 19 books.

NINETEEN.

THREE YEARS.

I don’t read slow. I can read a book in a day or two if I have the time for it. But, not this series. I can’t force myself to care about it.

And the hardest thing is discussing *why* I hate it so much. I have a few reasons, and I’ve gone through all of them with him, but he just can’t see it from my point of view, and always has a rebuttal for every reason I have for not wanting to read it. He just can’t accept that I won’t read the series because he LOVES it so much and wants to talk about it and dissect it with me, like he does with everything else. (Movies I’ve never watched I’ve heard hour long rants on how the physics was wrong — which made me not want to watch the movie because I’d already heard almost the whole thing including dialog, but anyway)

That’s beside the point, but sets the scene. So, the latest (19th) book came out and since I’m a librarian I saw it hit the shelves on release day, and texted him to say his favorite series has more material. (because even if I don’t want to read them, I understand loving a series and wanting more as soon as possible). So, naturally, he went out and bought the book.

What started my writing crisis was that we were discussing his favorite book series. Again. And he was expressing inpatients because I hadn’t read it, and I’ve read a LOT of books since I started reading his series (as a rough guess, I’ve probably read about 100 books since). So we were discussing why, which is where things get “heated”

  • I can’t connect with the characters. They feel static.
  • The MMC is a whiny baby — he annoys me.
  • The author repeats things a LOT, as a way to establish that something is a habit. But it’s obvious enough to be really annoying – or it could be just annoying to me because I literally don’t care how often this character checks that his sword is clear of its scabbard. Not at all.
  • The first book has a lot of POV characters that by the time you go from one to another to another and back again, I’ve forgotten what the first one was up to (some of this hinges on the fact that it’s taken me so long to read it and I’m not all that invested in the first place)
  • The second book has fewer POV characters and spends more time with each one, but what they’re doing still isn’t all that interesting and I found myself wanting to yell at the characters throughout the whole thing to “hurry up already and get to the point” – plus, because it does take longer to go between characters now I’ve REALLY forgotten what the other ones were up to.
  • There are actually a lot of instances where things could be solved by just being straight forward and talking to each other amongst characters.
  • There are other similar instances where things could have been avoided if they had just simply kept going instead of wandering off on some contrived thing instead.
  • They go into SO MUCH DETAIL about strategy and how governments are run that I’m *so bored* when I read it. But to my husband this is a bonus. He’s thrilled with it, and says that books 3 and 4 the main characters aren’t even IN IT until the end and that the whole thing is about this other government. He finds it fascinating … I’m trying to convince him to accept that I’m never going to read those books.
  • And that’s not even going into the CONTENT of the books … because frankly I don’t remember enough of it. I know there’s some questionable instances, and that you can CERTAINLY tell it was written by a man for male readers and it’s part of that Tolkienesque field of epic fantasy (and full disclaimer I don’t like Lord of the Rings either)

Somehow things got onto the subject of how it sounds when we’re reading books. He says he can hear the female character in a female voice, the male in a male voice, the old man in an old man voice, etc … and I can’t recall ever having that happen for me. I hear everything in my voice. Rarely, if I’m reading a book that I know as a movie I may be able to put an actor’s voice to it, but only if I’ve recently heard that character’s voice. I can see entire scenes, I can picture a tree and the apple that falls from it and seeing it bounce along the ground. And he says he cannot – for him it’s more of a wire mesh vagueness that suggests what’s going on. But he was flabbergasted that I don’t get voices, and that’s when he said that maybe I should stick to reading non-fiction because without voices, why read fiction?

And it just … stuck with me.

I know he didn’t mean it in the way I then took it and ran with it. (I know he was also just hurt that I can’t read his favorite series and he really really just wants to talk about it with me) Which is to say, my brain then went on a downward spiral of if I’m not cut out to read fiction, how can I write fiction, and if I can’t write, than what am I going to do with my life because books are my life, I can’t not write, it’s what keeps me sane, I couldn’t handle not coming up with stories, I can’t let go of my characters.

Then I came back to my senses and realized … if I can’t bear to part with my characters, than there must be enough of them in my head to be real characters. Right? So, even if I don’t hear their voices distinctly, I do hear their dialog, and I do know what they’re feeling.

So that’s where the spiral ended, and I decided to sit down and write the start of my new novel just to prove to myself that I could. So, there’s that. But still, it made me curious … am I really that weird for not hearing voices? Is there anyone else out there that doesn’t hear voices or accents in their head when they read?