Over and Over and Over Again


I love the irony of this statement. Wilde, obviously, knew you can't determine if you'll want to read the book over and over again until you have read it once. Wilde was known for his brilliant wit, and it's evident here.

However, he does, still, make a good point. The best books are the ones we enjoy so much that we keep them in our library to read again and again. I have no idea how many times I've read A Tale of Two Cities and Jane Eyre. Just last month, I re-read Willa Cather's A Lost Lady, and it was just as good a read this time around as it was the first. Of course, the classics get many reads by true book lovers, but some modern authors have faithful fans that read and re-read their books. For thriller lovers, James Patterson and John Grisham come to mind. For western-book lovers, there's no one like Louis L'Amour. And, let's not forget the Harry Potter series.

So, we should write for the read and for the re-read. Excellent writing, with living, breathing characters that come to life in the pages of a book, will always attract devoted readers. If you, as the author, get bored reading your work over and over again as you edit and refine, don't count on your potential readers to be any more interested than you are. After all, you have a vested interest. They don't. Today's readers allow little more than the 140 characters of Twitter to pique their interest. You must grab them early and then convince them to hang on for the ride.

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