Reading Like a Writer

When I read a novel, I read like a reader.  I turn off the part of my brain that analyses the grammar, counts the adverbs, and evaluates word choice.  I just enjoy the story and imagine what’s happening.  When I read, the words don’t seem to even register in my mind, as they’re automatically converted into a movie in my head.

But you know what? Sometimes, that writer comes out and starts looking at how the author wrote the book.  That’s when I stop paying attention to the story and focus more on the style and word choice.  And you know what?  I see adverbs! Ones that end in -ly! Shocking, isn’t it?  I notice other things, too.  They use other verbs instead of “said” and “asked.”  Wow.  It seems a lot of the advice we’re given about not using adverbs and sticking only to “said” don’t necessarily apply one hundred percent of the time.  It’s all about moderation, not completely cutting things out.

The more I read as a writer, the more I realise that they all break the rules.  Don’t blindly follow the advice of other authors.  Do what you feel is right.  That’s what I think.

The Judge

The second week of the A to Z Challenge finishes with the letter J. This time, we get to the end of the tree saga, or do we?

The Judge


New Athens

Fifteenth day, fifth month, first year after colonisation, Ariadne Era (5/15/01 AE)

The desk had a lone tablet on it. Behind the desk, Judge Ann Prescott pored over the documents on the computer. She sighed.

Two hundred years ago, I’d have a stack of papers on my desk. At least then I’d know how much more I had to do.

The knock on the door startled her. She breathed deeply and said, “Come in.”

The door opened and in came a very confident young man. Ann watched the blond man walk toward her, wondering what could bring someone to her office without an appointment.

“Do you have an appointment?” she asked, knowing the answer.

“No, Your Honour. I’m sorry for the intrusion. My name is Luc Primeaux. I’m a civil engineer for the city of New Athens.” He smiled. He was confident. Maybe too confident.

“I’m very busy right now, Mr. Primeaux,” she said. “Please be brief.”

“Of course. You know the cloud tree that was discovered two months ago. Well, the wood is incredible. I think we can use it. But it seems I’m unable to get permission to obtain more of the wood to use in city projects.”

“There’s a very good reason for that. It’s the only one of its kind.”

“But there are many female trees in the forests north of here. Surely they’ll produce another male tree.”

“Perhaps, but it’s possible that only these large trees are mature enough to produce pollen for the females. But that’s beside the point, Mr. Primeaux.”


“You did read the colony charter, didn’t you?” asked Ann.

“Of course. We all did. And that’s why I’m here. I’d like to challenge the section regarding the use of resources,” he said.

“It’s not going to be changed, so you can give up now. You seem to have little regard to the process of law. You also seem to have little regard for the environment. We came to this world to start anew and avoid doing any damage to this world. What you suggest could destroy the only source of pollen for a species that may produce fruits that many animals rely on. From what I’ve been told, the trees make up a large percentage of that forest. Using that one tree could damage the forest, the habitat, and the entire food chain. Now, I’m very busy, so drop this business about that tree and get back to your job.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He walked out of the office without any spring in his step.

I wish people would stop and think. This is ridiculous. I’d hoped things would be simpler on this world. I was wrong.