Come join me Sunday, July 30th!

Come join me Sunday, July 30th!
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore- San Diego

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

No, they really can't see inside your mind

For some folks, the title of today's post brings a feeling of relief.  They are free to take off that foil hat and stop getting odd looks everywhere they go.

For us writers they are words of warning.

Your reader CAN'T see inside your head.  When we write we see what's going on with the story, whether we're a pantser, plotter, or plantser-- we know what is there.  We know what is coming.  We may giggle a few pages in because--boy oh boy-- we know a funny bit that the reader is just going to LOVE happens on page fifteen.

But the reader can't see that.

They see only what we show them (see earlier post about the slug, dog and rocking chair ;)).  If we fill the first few pages with backstory, or fluff, or a wonderfully emotional opening that has no real bearing in our story, they get confused.  Or lost.  Or confused, lost, and annoyed.

Confused, lost, and annoyed readers stop reading.

Our main goal-beyond getting these words out of our heads- is to get those words in the hands of readers.  ANYTHING that stops that ruins the chances that our book will survive to be read.

This makes sense, I see many of you nodding and agreeing.  Of course I need to make sure the beginning grabs the reader.  But too many times we get so excited by our world, by what's coming around the corner, that we loose track of what we're really showing the reader.  We put in stuff they don't need.

I recently realized that while one of my books started in the right place so to speak, I needed to move some bits to the front.  The book wasn't getting across it's true colors.  So, I took a funny bit a few pages in and made it the beginning. 

It works much better now, it gets the feel of the book out there faster, and isn't counting on the reader to see what's coming (since, even without foil, they really can't see inside my head ;)).

So what about you?  Have you looked for those points in your writing where you like it because you know what's coming?

6 comments:

  1. Ha! Very true, Marie. I'd rather sit with my readers and explain things as they go--"Keep reading, it gets better.""Don't dislike the heroine for doing that; she's had a rough life."--but since I can't be there with the reader, I guess I'd better make sure they understand the book and want to keep reading on their own! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! True, Cassi! It's hard not to respond to folks and say, "but wait!"

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

      Delete
  2. Yes--I learned this lesson the hard way when a previous manuscript of mine was uniformly hated by everyone who read it, and all because the heroine sleeps with someone else's boyfriend in chapter one. Apparently they couldn't tell from that first chapter that she was going to redeem herself in the end. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now see? If they could just see what we see, that wouldn't have been a problem, Shoshana ;).

      But it's hard, that could be an amazing redemption arc!

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

      Delete
  3. I think sometimes the author doesn't give the reader enough information for fear of letting that big surprise ending cat out of the bag. Picking when and how much information to give the reader is a delicate walk on a tightrope. Too little and you lose them. Too much and you may lose them faster.

    Thought provoking post, Marie.
    Sharon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True on both counts, Sharon. We just have to make sure that we make the reader want to keep reading long enough to get to the surprise ;).

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

      Delete