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?