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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Finding People Like Me

One of the really nice thing about the online community is finding like-minded individuals to hang out with. I've always been a voracious reader--I'm betting I averaged 20-25 books a month there for a while--and finding people who read like I did was impossible. No one I knew read that much. In fact, I hardly knew anyone who even read romance. And To Be Read (TBR) piles? Forget about it. I thought I was some kind of mutant freak and I never told anyone I had about a dozen books piled on my bookshelves that I hadn't read yet.

Then I entered a magical world known as the internet and there was a romance readers' board. OMG! I found people who read the same books as I did. They read the same huge amount that I did. And they had TBR piles! I promptly gave up television so that I had time to talk books with all my new friends.

There was only one downside. Book recommendations. My TBR pile swelled alarmingly. It's still alarming, only more so because I have a lot less time to read now than I ever had before.

But these are the women that introduced me to Linda Howard and Mackenzie's Mountain, to Anne Stuart, Rachel Lee, and a host of other authors I hadn't read before this. There were also a large number of authors in this community and they did online workshops for us. Free! I read and I learned.

The online community is also awesome for writers because we're just not normal. It's why we tend to congregate with each other. We talk about our characters as if they're real people, and hey, I'll be honest with you. My characters are real to me. It's like we're sharing a house while I'm working with them. When the story, revisions, edits, and galleys are done, they leave and it's as if my best friends just moved to the other side of the country. It's also why I like to reread my books--it's a chance to visit with my h/h again.

We can get into grammar discussions like on the comma, the semi-colon, the colon, and the em-dash and go on forever quite happily. Normal people don't find this interesting. ::shocked face::

Speaking for myself, I spend a lot of time in my head. TBH, I like the worlds I build much better than the real one. In my head, there's justice and the people who deserve to win, do. The people who are bad guys or unpleasant or whatever also get what they deserve. My characters might have to keep working at it, but they do get a happy ending. The real world? Not so much.

Writers can also talk happily with each other for a really extended time about what's the best way to kill a demon, to mate with a demon, to use magic in a fight, to capture the bad guy. I've seen authors' eyes light up as we've brainstormed these kinds of things.

You can see why the internet helps everyone. Readers can find awesome book recommendations (although wow, the noise now is incredible compared to back when I found my first group) and writers can discuss punctuation without boring others comatose. :-)