I've been savoring some of my favorite books over the last few weeks in between various authorly chores and household obligations. And I've been thinking about what exactly makes one book a keeper and another not.
I have a few favored authors. Some have written hundreds of books. So why are fifteen or twenty books cherished favorites while other aren't? Oh, they're excellent stories, but not the favored story I choose to curl up with on a rainy day...or a sunny day...or just about any day I have free.
Not too long ago a friend wrote to me, indicated she'd read a certain book of mine and very apologetically explained she just couldn't finish it--and she knew almost immediately it would never be one of her favorites. I appreciated her honesty even while I pondered why this book did not speak to her.
The house hunk read one of my books in the last few days and we had a lot of discussion about the book. He wanted to know why...why...why? Basically, he was not pulled in to any part of the story. I think in the final analysis, it was the genre. Those of us that write in the paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi genres know there will be readers that will never be attracted, never enjoy our books simply because they aren't contempories.
For myself, a contemporary is my least favorite genre--probably because I want a story that challenges my imagination. I believe I write stories that challenge me and that's why I enjoy the writing process. When I'm no longer challenged, then the story just stops--which is probably why there are certain stories that are languishing on my computer half finished.
What is your standard for a keeper? Is it because you enjoy the characters? The story? Why?