Its Not You Its Me! On A Date With The Reader

bookwormEssentially, reading is a relationship. You’re dedicating time out of your life, although temporary, to understanding and building an emotional bond between characters, events, as well as taking part on the emotional journey to achieve the symbolic harmony that may find said book on the coveted summer reading list.

In every relationship, things can go two ways good or bad. So when you’re on a date with the perfect book, why can things so easily go south?

Underdeveloped Theory

  • When a plot is underdevloped the reader is left disheartened. Why is this? With the turn of every page the reader is anticipating a plot twist or hidden agenda behind every character until mid way through the story when they cme to terms with the idea that the story is simply underdeveloped and underwhelming.
  • This often occurs when other areas of the story are over exaaggerated, such as, the conflict, characters,  detail to setting/timeline/event, even sub plot can leave a great writer a victim to an underdeveloped portion of the story.
  • There are a few ways this can be avoided
    • Make a skeleton, or outline of the story and fill in the key elements that are crucial to the reader and as you write refer to the outline and be sure to include all the elements. You can always add detail.
    • Have a friend, or family member that is unaware of the complete storyline read over the material you are comfortable with sharing and ask for honest feedback. Be sure to confirm that the settings, transitions, and descriptions were all realistic to a reader. Keep in mind the author sees the story from beginning to end. Make sure it’s a story and not a summary!

Obvious Ending

  • Have you ever opened a book you’ve been waiting to read for months, felt the strong spine beneath your fingers, smelled the inky or digital scent of fresh print, read the first page and predicted the ending from the very start. That’s what we call The Predictable Read. In a relationship with a perfect book, it needs to be something new and fresh. Predictable is salt on the table and we want the rest of the seasonings.
    • If you fear your book is ever becoming predictable, this is the perfect time for a sub plot.
      • Plot: The characters in your story are musicians, they are hoping to go on tour with their idol if they can finish their first albulm in time.
      • Sub Plot: One band member battles with a disease
    • Another option would be to add in my personal favorite, a plot twist. A plit twist can be added in at any part of the story beginning, middle or end. Wherever you believe it will cause the most impact which is the true purpose of a plot twist.
      • Plot: The characters in your story are musicians, they are hoping to go on tour with their idol if they can finish their firs albulm in time.
      • Plot Twist: The record producer is a gambler who spends the bands savings at the casino.

Unlikable Character

  • When reading that perfect book you build a relationship with the characters. You feel a deep sense of empathy for everything the author puts them through, despite the fact that it’s all on paper. But, what if the character you’re trying to bond with is just plain unlikable?
    • Kudos to the author that put so much emotion into a fictional, paper back being that earned the nasty title that made us want to turn the page, but hopefully not close the book.
    • If you feel your character has a 0-2 likability factor, it might be simply because we don’t know enough about them to see that ounce of good that was probably intended.
    • If your character is getting booed off the paperback stage, simply hit the keyboard and tell us a little story about why they came to be so, bitter, judemental, evil, annoying, etc. Background stories touch close to home for people, they are the heartbeat for most characters. You’ll be surprised how much the rating goes up, and they won’t lose their touch.

Grammar

  • Every relationship requires some food for thought. Periods and commas go a long way if used correctly. They completely change the way a sentence is said aloud.
    • It’s always good to read over your work and then have someone else do it for you. The writer sometimes sees what they meant to write, especially in a hurry to produce an amazing story. You want a person that you can trust to help edit, as well as a person who pays attention to detail.

Unrelatable Plot

  • Admittedly so, we all come from different walks of life, therefore we all have different stories to tell.It’s safe to say that not every reader is going to comment that they can relate from start to finish because that just isn’t feasible, but that doesn’t mean that same person doesn’t want to hear our story.
    • Telling your story can be difficult if you want to step out of your comfort zone and explore the world of literature, but thats the beauty of story telling. If you find that you’re stuck on a story that doesn’t feel like you, put yourself in to. Always leave your imprint on the stories you tell so that people can look back and say that they heard it from you.

Slow Beginning

  • The hardest part of the relationship is the beginning. It’s an adventure that you’re afraid to embark on. Your time is limited and now you’ll be sharing your coffee breaks and good night reads with this newfound story. Is it worth it? All the books in the world and this is the one you picked.
    • Everyone has been talking about the new book that’s coming to theaters, and when you finally get your copy you realize that it is absolutely, painfully boring. The second chapter and it’s still developing the characters and sets. You’re wondering when it’s gonna get good. You’re wondering if you made a mistake.
    • Boring beginnings happen, but thet don’t have to. That’s what your trusty editors are for. By the end of the second chapter, the reader should know what they are in for and they should be excited for it. If they are still waiting for the acknowledgements to end then you have a problem.
    • In the first chapter you want to be sure to identify the main character, set the scene, kiss the conflict, address the plot, and have the reader on the same page as you by the end of chapter.

For the Readers

What does it take for you to walk away from that relationship with a book?

  • Underdeveloped Plot
  • Obvious ending
  • Unlikable character
  • Poor Grammar
  • Unrelatable plot
  • Slow beginning
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