Monday, April 1, 2013
B for BOLD
B for BOLD
Since my theme for this year’s challenge is about fulfilling your dream (mine is to become a full time writer) the word ‘BOLD’ is very fitting.
But maybe not in the way you’re thinking.
As writers, or painters, or musicians, or whatever—we have to be bold. But is there such a thing as being too bold? Can we push too hard?
One of my current hobbies is checking out free or at least inexpensive e-books I see posted on twitter, facebook, Amazon, or anywhere else where these little “gems” might show up. It doesn’t matter what genre. I’m very curious to know what other newbees are putting out there. So far, it’s been a lesson in futility. Look at the following example:
After reading the first ten pages of a fantasy novel with a good premise and attractive cover, here is my evaluation.
Repetition—The author repeated a LOT of things in the first few pages. For one, he makes it a point to mention that one character is chilled as she walks down the street. Two pages later, He points out that “late fall cold had begun to set in”, and then explains how his character is trying to keep out the chill again. ALL IN THE SAME SCENE
The bad guys in the book are larger than humans. The author uses every word imaginable—several times—to describe this size difference. Mention it once or twice and let it GO, or use your action to convey the point. Speaking of action, several characters “Stopped dead in their tracks” in the first ten pages. And one guy whined several times. I don’t know about you, but my brain latches on to these things. Then I’m backtracking to confirm I just saw the same phrase a page or two back.
Tag lines—Oh my! Here is a list of tag lines on ONE page: he informed, she repeated, he whined, he sputtered, he demanded, he warned. ON ONE PAGE! Not once does the author say; he said. Lesson—Lose the tag lines or keep it simple.
Dialogue MUST fit the character speaking. In one scene, the author is describing a confrontation between the good guy and the bad guy. This bad guy (huge in size compared to the good guy, as we’ve already been told over and over) is supposed to be one mean dude. Here is a line in the book. “Stop!” he bellowed at Kale. “Or I’ll skewer your sister. I’m not kidding.”
REALLY? Skewer? Why not gut or amputate something? But he’s not KIDDING! What? Is he twelve?
My point is this: sometimes the time to be bold is not when we’ve completed our first manuscript and had our reading group critique it. Someone should have pointed these flaws out to the author. Now he/she has a book published that a knowledgeable reader will give up on after just a few pages.
Be BOLD in learning the craft and be willing to accept critique from those who know what they’re talking about. Put your absolute best out there.
If anyone would like a seasoned reader to read and review their book, I’m all ears.
Now Boldly Go!