So what do I mean by skimming? Nine times out of ten, you can tell when you're about to hit a sex scene. There are definite signs - the couple are starting to get hot and heavy and their clothes are starting to fly everywhere. In the beginning, when I started seeing naked people I would just flip the pages to when I started to see them talk and carry on from there. Sounds good in theory BUT every now and then you come across "sex talkers"... those couples that like to have meaningful conversations while they're bumping and grinding. I'd hit those sections, relax and start getting engrossed again only to get a HUGE eyeful of stuff I'd been trying to avoid. I soon adapted to where I'd hit the talking, do a few "bounces" to test the scene and if they were clothed again, it was on with the story. It takes some practice and there are the odd accidents but after a while, I became pretty good at skimming and some of the anxiety was taken out of it. I was able to explore more books and my bookshelf exploded because suddenly I felt comfortable and confident enough that I could get what I needed.
I'm a big believer that in order to become engrossed in a story and connect with each characters, it's important to feel comfortable with what you're reading. I really wanted to share the idea of skimming because I wondered if there are other readers out there that were holding back, hesitant to dive into romance because they don't want to deal with sex scenes. Granted there are some *blushes* but most books aren't solely sex oriented and have amazingly complex story lines to them. It makes me feel sad that readers might miss out on such great experiences because they hadn't realized they could skim. I really recommend that next time you're looking at trying a romance, find the one that catches your eye and test it. Don't let possible sex scenes stop you and just remember, there are levels to skimming and it's up to you how often and how much you do.
I was a complete skimmer in the beginning. Nothing got past me. Then slowly as I started to fall more in love with the genre and became more comfortable, I lessened my grip and began to try an occasional scene... just out of curiosity. Sometimes I'd hit a scene that melted my eyeballs but most times, it was a positive experience and for me, it enhanced the relationship I was seeing between the couple. Over time, I've become more adventurous and so I skim less and less and it's very rare now that I do, although I did recently read a book that I desperately wished I still practiced skimming because the scenes were so bad I wanted to blow torch my imagination. That's another good reminder too - you can judge how much you might have to skim by whether its romance or erotica. I think it's a safe assumption that erotica will be heavy skimming material because the scenes do get pretty graphic. You're your own best judge and just go with your gut.
Hmm.. what else to share about skimming. Remember that you have total control on how much and how little you read. Once you get the hang of it, can read the signs better and get into the groove of the book, don't forget to have fun. Don't let it stress you out where the focus is on skimming and not on the story. It's all about finding a way for you to be comfortable instead of totally ruling out a genre that may very well be your favorite. That's how it was for me. I'm completely addicted to romance and I came horribly close to turning my back on it. I don't even want to think about where I'd be know because each book has shaped me, opened up my heart and provided hours upon hours of pure joy and entertainment. So before I finish this ramble *giggles* let me leave you with this thought - skim or not skim? That is the question.