Friday, October 15, 2010

The Development of the "Cheat Sheet"

The history that lead to the development of the "Cheat Sheet".

Have been a reader of romance books for over forty years.  Read strictly for entertainment and escape.  During all those years of reading, when finished a book, would think: {1} "I liked that book" or {2} "there was something about that book that was off."  Last year found numerous book review sites online and had an "ah-hah" moment.  These talented women could put their finger on what was great (or not so great) about the books they read.  I was so impressed!

One of the first review sites I stumbled across turned out to be a favorite -- All About Romance.  Decided to put pen to paper and see if I could write reviews about the books I read (with the grandiose idea of submitting some of my "work" to the editors of that site to become a regular reviewer).  As time passed and I found more and more review sites (and just recently personalized blog sites), decided not to travel that path after all.

Had serious reservations about being assigned to read a book that did not appeal because it could be found on one of two lists: {1} "Genre I Tend To Dislike" (for instance: werewolves, shapeshifters, vampires, paranormal) and {2} "Talented Authors Who Are Not My Cup of Tea" (for instance: Debbie Macomber).  I can just imagine the gasps of horror that would erupt from readers who love this obviously talented author should I be asked to read, then review one of her books.  (I read one of her books and did not enjoy it.  But having seen rows and rows of her books in several of my favorite book stores (and having fellow shoppers recommend her books to me), I tried another.  That book didn't work for me either.  There are just too many unread books by too many authors I do like for me to continue to try a third time.

The "Cheat Sheets" being offered here (from one avid reader to another) grew from several desires: One: missed working on WordPerfect; Two: wanted to start writing reviews; Three: wanted to keep track of books read; and Four: wanted to put all the pieces of information about that book (personal input and online data) in one document.  The first attempts at Cheat Sheets were about two or three pages long of just text.  Now they can be as long as thirty or more pages (depending on how many reviews can be found about a particular book) and contain graphics.

Fellow readers who will most appreciate the Cheat Sheets are those (like me) who suffer memory lapses, or who fill up their memory banks from reading numerous other books between publication dates of an author's "Series" books.  Take for instance, my second favorite series of all time: Suzanne Brockmann's "The Troubleshooter Series."  After reading all the books I could find on that series, went on to read numerous other books while Brockmann published several more books to the series.

Being a slow reader, had the bright idea that it wouldn't take too much more time to start keeping track of all the characters that play a role in the book, plus try to keep track of the plot sequences.  After reading the book, would {1} write a personal review, {2} type up the "Cliff's Notes"-type information pulled from the book, and {3} have a private little book club meeting by going online to find out how other readers felt about the book.

The premise being: instead of reading all fifteen books of The Troubleshooter Series again (have read most of them twice), when Book Sixteen comes out, will go to those fifteen Cheat Sheets and review what those books were about.  Then, if need be, can go to the page about the character(s) featured in Book Sixteen and read just the pertinent excepts from Books One through Fifteen to refresh my memory.

The next entry to this blog will contain a breakdown of the architecture of the Cheat Sheets.  Would like to offer this data to fellow romance book enthusiasts.  Here's the rub.  Need a "How to Blog" book.  In the meantime, if you are willing to bear with me while I fumble along trying to learn all the ins and outs of blogs (and gadgets), will be happy to share all or part of the Cheat Sheets.  Can offer them as either a WordPerfect Document or a PDF file.  Can offer them in whole or in part.

If any of you obviously much more computer literate romance readers can offer other recommendations (and instructions) about a better way to share, please let me know.

No comments:

Post a Comment