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Saturday, August 31, 2013

How Not To Write A Book

Following up my previous blog, ( What I Want to Read, Aug. 27, 2013 ) I hope no one out there took it as a slam directed against indie authors. Since I am one myself, I recognize that there is a wide range of ability in any given group of authors.

Some of the worst books I've recently read ( or started to read ) were written by fairly well-known authors, who are published by traditional publishing houses. I've learned the hard way that these qualifications do not necessarily guarantee a good read! A famous name and an established publisher don't mean you'll love, like, or even be able to get through a particular book.

In one novel written by a well-known author who shall remain nameless ( I'm not out to ruin anyone's rep, not even a tiny bit! ) their first chapter grabbed me; it was enthralling. I was excited. But their second chapter skipped so far back in time it felt disconnected. And from that point on the book dragged so unbearably slowly that I simply couldn't suffer through it. But it did teach me another lesson in "How Not To Write A Book!"

This was not the first time I'd been taught such a lesson, even by a well-known and often-published author. And it probably won't be the last. I suggest you read with a critical eye; keep track of which methods succeed and which do not. All authors make mistakes, from "padding" their wordage to introducing huge lists of characters who have no business being mentioned at all!

One of the worst mistakes an author can make--and one of my pet peeves!--is introducing a new character in the last few pages or, even worse, leaving a major character in a cliff-hanger to insure the reader will buy the next book in the series! Grrrr!

But before I get even more carried away--keep on reading; keep on writing!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What I Want to Read

Now that Galaxy Rand has been written, edited, and sent off to my publisher, I finally have time to read. I love to read, and I'll read just about anything in any genre. But I love books. What do I look for in a book?

!) First, the book has to be well written. It's difficult for me to really get into a book loaded with grammatical errors, misspellings, incorrect punctuation, poor sentence structure, etc. ( Yes, I am a bit of a grammar Nazi, but not in the extreme. An occasional typo or missed comma won't send me into an hysterical fit! )

2) Second, I'm looking for an exciting, well-told tale. Is it fresh, engrossing? Does it move along at a good clip? Does it make sense? ( If you lose me in the first chapter, what are the chances I'll keep reading? Not good. I just don't have the time to waste. )

3) Third, I'm looking for characters who are believable, original, and fascinating. They must be people I can recognize and relate to. I even need to know where the villain is coming from. ( Characters can't act for unknown reasons and, most of all, must have a purpose for being included; this is especially true of female characters. They must be a lot more than mere sex objects! )

Lately, I've read a few good books and some not so good. As I said, if I can't find a good reason to keep reading, I seldom read past the first chapter or two.

Whether you agree or disagree with me, I hope you find these hints helpful.

Keep on reading; keep on writing!