Monday, May 28, 2012

Reading While Writing... "Breakfast with Buddha" by Roland Merullo

When I read, I read for enjoyment and the craft of writing. In my "Reading While Writing" blog posts, I list and discuss the lessons I feel each book contained for me. Feel free to follow along and add your own lessons learned :)

The other day, I ended up in my Aunt and Uncle's neighborhood with my children. The reason? To take pictures of my daughter on her birthday. It was a Tuesday, and around here, all parks with their pretty water views and wooded scenes are closed. Seems we ever only want to go to a park on a Tuesday.

As I was taking photos of my daughter with her yellow flowing dress and pretty tiara, I got a call on my cell phone. "Is that you?" my aunt wanted to know. "Yep, we'll be right over."

And, to our delight, my aunt was cleaning out her art room and library. Boxes and boxes of art supplies and varying titled books ready to leave the premises.

Translation? Jack pot!

My daughter, who has dearly and undeniably been nicknamed "Crafty", was in art-heaven. Along with getting to skip a day of school to enjoy her birthday doing whatever she chose (after I got the pics I wanted), got to also bring home boxes and boxes of crafty booty.

As for me, well, I got a treat myself. Five different books, all from genres I rarely, if ever, read. Why? I guess I get bored if there's no 'lesson' for life or 'love' to live through. I'm not a mystery, fantasy, law-suit, contemporary fiction lover. I'm a lover. Just love. That's all there is to me ;)

But, as the saying goes, one must venture off into unknown territory to learn all aspect of their craft.

Translation, please? Read everything.

So, I passed up the familiar fiction and found some gems, one of them being Breakfast with Buddha.

I started off reading and being bored from the start. But I didn't put it down. This was a test. A lesson I set up for myself. So read on, I did. Chapter one. Bored. Chapter two. Bored. Chapter three. Bored.

Boring, eh?

Then I hit, thankfully, chapter four. Not entirely entertaining, it started to show glimpses of chapters to come. And so on and so forth the rythym continued, picking up speed, enthusiasm, until, finally I came to chapter after chapter of wonderful reading. I couldn't put it down. Had to finish it. Gobble it up.

And gobble I did.

What a wonderful book. Full of passion and love and life lessons. Yay! A book that will be cherished and placed on my bookshelf for time to come.

And one important lesson.

Craft lesson #1: Chapter One. Chapter Two. Chapter Three. Make them interesting, useful, and not suck.

Chapter One. Chapter Two. Chapter Three. The 3 most important chapters of any book. Had I not been on a mission, I would have not pushed through any of these in Breakfast with Buddha. They were boring. They reeked of nothingness. No point to them other than for the main character (aka, the author) to hear himself think. Ugh...

IMHO, the book should have been started at Chapter four. The author tells so much about his self absorbed life - spoiler: he's a New Yorker - in the first three chapters, that I was swimming in a sea of blah blah blah uselessness. SHOW your main character's self-absorption (which IS shown throughout the book very well). Don't TELL the reader (as is done in ch1, ch2, ch3)....because the reader will get bored and stop reading (unless assigned not to).

This lesson reminds me so much of my own book. And is why I've worked and reworked and deleted and rewrote and deleted and rewrote and reworked it to, what I hope, is okay. Okay enough to no suck, be useful, relevant to the rest of the book, storyline, plot and subplots, so that no reader will be left in the blahs of boredom...and stop reading.

The rest of the book was fantastic and a great read - I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone!