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This Book Sure Looks Like Plant Food to Me!

March 30, 2010  Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Plot, The Craft   8 Comments

In the world of semi-automatic firearms, when a pistol or rifle fails to move a round into the chamber properly, causing a malfunction, we call this a “failure to feed.”

Not to be confused with my cat Iris, who, if I fail to feed when her dish is empty, will whack me alongside the head when I pass the kitty condo.

But I digress. Failing to feed has consequences.

I’ve blogged about this topic before, but sometimes, as a writer, I have this instinctual need to read, and if I ignore it, my creativity suffers. But there is always the “time thing.” I have a job, I have kids, a dog and the Wife Unit who loves to play video games with me (how awesome is that? It’s awesome, I tell you). There are so many hours in the day, and I when I get tired, I go to bed.

I never suffer from writer’s block (anymore), but yet again, I’ve caught myself slowing down in my editing and writing.

That is, until I increased my reading. It was fuel to the fire.

I love books. Sometimes, even bad ones are inspirational. I just finished a book, from a much respected author, and the ending was so terrible. So very bad. We’re talking I will probably never buy another one of his books without reading a review again, and I have every single one of his hard covers in my library.

But it had value, to me, as a writer. Creative value. It fed the mechanical side of the narrative, sacrificing the entertainment. Indeed, if I wasn’t a writer, I would have stopped reading right when I saw The Big Lazy Cop-Out.

But this book fed me. It made me think about the mechanics of storytelling and how vital the contract with the reader is. There are many ways I draw inspiration, I will never lack it, but the core of my literary soul is a book in my hands and a good story, and failing that, inspiration to not fail in the same way.

Feed me Seymour!

8 comments on: This Book Sure Looks Like Plant Food to Me!

  1. J.C March 30, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Feed me Anthony!!!

    I’ve been waiting ever so patiently…..

    • Anthony March 30, 2010 at 3:09 pm

      I should have seen that coming!

      I’ve actually changed the novel a bit because of that one bad book I read.

      Right now I am debating if the debauched kissing scene should stay or go. It’s way over the top.

      • J.C March 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm

        You really should have seen that one coming 😉

        You’re the master of making a girl wait! But I would rather read a novel you’re happy with than one you’re not, so I’ll keep waiting…

  2. Tony Noland March 31, 2010 at 7:07 am

    What’s interesting is that your writing benefits even if you read crap. You read something mediocre or lousy and think, “Ugh, this guy just , and then compounded it with .” It often makes me move on to the corollary thought, “He should have , and that would have made this thing a lot better.”

    Then, when I find myself doing X or Y, I can apply a fix I’ve already thought of.

  3. Ken Kiser March 31, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I find that on the days when I dont feel like writing I can pick up a book or short story or magazine or even a cereal box and before I know it Im ready to write usually in minutes

    *this concludes my test of writing a comment without punctuation

  4. Davidwhitewolf April 9, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Oh, boy. Have I got a book to send you. Actually, as I was reading it, I was thinking “Anthony Pacheco would have done this SO much better….”

    • Anthony April 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm


      BTW, I re-wrote Bunny Trouble. It’s darker and more focused. I’ve also changed the title to “Bunny Noir”. I’ll send you a copy when I’ve finished with another round of line-editing. This version may be agent worthy.

  5. Davidwhitewolf April 13, 2010 at 2:32 pm


    FWIW, the author of this particular book mentioned to me that it was originally 500+ pages and it got hacked to ribbons — almost half its original length — by the publisher. The printing was paid for by an “angel” so the author didn’t have any say in the matter. I can’t say whether the missing stuff would have fixed the book’s problems, but in this particular case more characterization would have helped. You’ll see. Lemme see if I can dig up your address, or shoot me an email.

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