Saying Goodbye to a Bad Story

30 07 2013

If you want to know what makes a best seller, you have to understand the workings of a bad one. Writing is about placing your thoughts to paper, making a difference, telling a story, changing the way others think. All this is fine and dandy until you want to sell it. When money is not exchanging hands and the size of the audience is not a concern it is perfectly fine to write whatever you want. Writing can be a great stress relief or a way to remember a thought, dream, or story you heard. The minute you decide you want to have everyone read it or (and lets admit it is a driving factor) get paid for it you cross the line between writing for yourself and writing for others.  This time it matters what your audience wants and less about what you want. What do they want? It differs for everyone, but the best way to find out if your book stinks is to have others proof read it; unless you already have a publisher don’t think they will cover your bases.

If your friends, neighbors, acquaintances are counting the pages to the end of the chapter or (heaven forbid!) the end of the book you have failed. Time to either rewrite or toss it entirely. When you find your readers arguing with your narrator you have lost the magic and soon they will be counting the pages. You want your narrator to keep their interest, not drive them away. Be prepared to cry if you find your readers are more in league with your minor characters against your main. Hint- they should be rooting for your main character (pssst- even if he/she is the villain)! Beware the reader that skips pages to get to the good stuff. Steer clear from too complicated. Yes, there is such a thing. Some complication will keep your readers intrigued, while insanely complicated loses their interest.

Stay away from impossible rebirths. Vampires are okay as are werewolves or angels and the like, magic also has its potential, and science experiments carry some possibilities. But all these still have their limitations. Readers need limits or the story runs flat. What good is a main character that only wins because there is no means for failure? Put yourself in the place of your readers. You may think it is an incredible story, but remember all the volumes to which you gave your precious time only to put them aside in disgust. If you want it to sell the opinions of your readers are king and you need to be writing for them as much as for yourself.review

 

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ReBlogged from Lee Goldberg

12 04 2013

I love Lee’s kooky sense of humor.  I recently read his blog and had to share this with my readers.  Get ready for a chuckle.

Purple Prose

Royal-palm-tree1A friend recommended a crime novel to me that came out a few years ago from a major publisher and that was also praised by some big-name authors (including some who have praised my work). I brought the book along with me on a short day trip for something to read while my wife & daughter were shopping. The book was awful, but some of the terrible writing was worth sharing. Here are some of my favorite examples:

“A sustained orgasm of flowers filled the strip between the driveway and right side of the house.”

This made me laugh out loud. So did some of the comments my Facebook friends made about it:

 

And on the other side of the driveway, a foreplay of hedges.

 

Haven’t you ever had a sustained orgasm of flowers?

 

Better than a multiple orgasm of concrete.

 

Not just an orgasm of flowers, but a sustained orgasm of flowers. I want to live in that neighborhood.
Here’s another excerpt:

“Staring at the picture, I had a clear sense of the living person whose image was cradled in chemicals on the bed of thick paper.” 

Or as a less pretentious writer might say it: “I got a clear sense of the person from her photograph.”

“The girl in the picture had a glimmer of erotic fear in her dark eyes, waving like a thin, white arm of a drowning person.” 

So fear that is sexually arousing… or perhaps fear of something to do with sex…is visible in someone’s eyes as a white glimmer that looks like the arm of someone who is drowning. Yeah, that makes sense.

“Her short black skirt clung like a high priest’s desire to the curves of her ass.”

I suppose this might make sense if anybody had any idea what a “high priest’s desire” is. A high priest of what? Tortured metaphors? Speaking of which…

“The night was filled with the exotic feeling California still evoked for me, surf shushing beyond the campfires, palm trees thrusting their composers’ haircuts up into the starry sky, swaying with the symphony of the wind.” 

Surf shushing? Palms thrusting? A composer’s haircut? WTF? And am I the only one who thinks “a symphony of wind” sounds like another way of saying “a herd of cows farting”?







marykoster

Independent Consultant, Rodan and Fields Dermatologists

Relating To You

A site for learning about and sharing what you know about relationships we all deal with.

Darlene Craviotto

Can you all hear me in the back?

SpiritualChocolate

Living inside a Delicious Relationship with the Divine

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