I thought I'd share the stages of reading a novel that lead up to falling in love with it. I call it:
"Seven steps to an unhealthy relationship with your book."
First, I begin to form a bond with the characters. This is called "crushing."
Second, the plot is making me wonder what's the conflict. This is called "dating."
Third, there will be a time in the novel where I can sort of sense a scene build-up and am smiling or cringing. This is called "taking it to the next level."
Fourth, the conflict is getting so good that I'm putting important errands or college work on hold. This is called "getting engaged."
Fifth, the end is drawing near and I'm thinking to myself, "No! No this can't end yet!" This, as you can probably guess, is called "getting married."
Sixth, the end is over. Done with. Finished. Gone. And, I'm pissed that it's over because I want more. I need to read more about these characters. This is called "breaking up."
Seventh, finally, is six months down the road (maybe even a year) when you learn the next book is coming out. Yes, it's a series. I do the dance of joy--well, mentally because I'm not much of a dancer. This is called "making babies."
There you have it. The seven steps to an unhealthy relationship with your novel.
(Yeah, I've realized I haven't discussed character sketching like originally planned. . .Maybe next time!)