Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It Ain't Easy Following the Rules

Last post I talked about rules we readers would like to tell writers.

Some rules we came up with:

1. Don't Bore Your Reader
2. Don't Annoy Your Reader
3. Don't Be Predictable
4. Misunderstandings don't make Good Conflict
5. Trust Your Reader
6. Make Your Reader Care
7. Be an Honest, Believable Writer
8. Keep Things Simple

Unfortunately, while I can spot these things in books, somehow I miss them in my own stories. I'm always breaking rules and not realizing it!

Thank goodness for my critique group. For my writing friends. For anonymous contest judges.

Which "rules" have you broken? How do you keep yourself from doing it again? How do you feel about rules in general? (*grin* They're not my favorite thing, if you can tell)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rule Number One: Don't Bore Your Reader

I picked up a book that I'd heard good reviews about. The cover was cute, the voice engaging. I was totally into the book for about fifty pages...until I figured out the plot.

HEAs are my thing. That's why I read romance. But there are still ways to surprise me and hook me into the characters' lives.

With this book, the author set up a plot that could've been really good with lots of tension and snappy writing but somehow I realized that the whole crux of the plot is a misunderstanding. I didn't buy that the husband was cheating because I didn't see the evidence (could be other craft problems or could just be me).

There was a scene where the heroine is riding with her boss's son (who the husband doesn't know about) in a car and sees her husband drive past with his beautiful co-worker beside him. That's where I stopped reading.

The heroine is worrying about her husband cheating but she just did the same thing he did! Why is she allowed to ride in the car with a hot co-worker but if he doesn it's automatic suspicion of adultery?

Which leads me to...

RULE NUMBER TWO: Don't Annoy Your Reader.

Shortly after that scene I began skipping narrative, looking for a reason to believe that the conflict and tension in the story was real. I hadn't found it a chapter later so I flipped to the end and sure enough, my suspicions had been correct. The husband had always loved the wife and everything she'd been misreading had a valid explanation. Everything was hunky dory.

Was this the writer's fault? I don't know but I'm passing the book on to family members who may like it.

What do you think RULE NUMBER THREE should be?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

You Are A Story

I didn't have much interest in people as a kid. Once I discovered books, the life within them seemed more real than the bustle around me.

I cared for and liked people but I didn't really see them...

Until I landed a job at my local newspaper.

As a freelancer, my editor expected a story on a person every two weeks to grace our Neighbors section, and it needed to be interesting. The story was supposed to focus on a local resident's unique skill or talent.

I was blind, not understanding, wondering how I could find these "special" people.

My editor forever changed my perpective. He told me every person has something unique, something special--even if they don't know it. It was my job to find that slant and spotlight it.

Now everyone I meet I'm full of curiosity about. Who are they? What's their story? Where have they been and where are they going?

If you were a story, what genre would you be? How do you see people? How do you think God sees people?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What a Reader is Really Thinking

But first, another Huge Shout-Out to Katie Ganshert, who just landed a two book contract! You can read about her call HERE. Woohoo, I can't wait to read your books Katie!

Also, please keep Baby Annabelle and her parents Krista (my tree-climbing buddy)and Scott in your prayers. They have some major medical decisions looming.


On a side note, ever wonder what readers really think when they're ripped away from their current book? Check out the video below (rated PG for name calling)





How do you react when you get interrupted?