Sunday, January 19, 2014

Where is this story heading?

When a manuscript (ms) is being considered for acquisition, the reading is focused. It is nothing like reading for pleasure. A matrix of evaluation questions are processing while the sample chapters are read, and on the odd occasion, when the full ms has been requested.
During this intensely focused reading, it is a jolt when someone's name changes three-quarters into the book. The same thing happens with weather, holidays, and people's age. It can be spring one minute and two pages later the season or weather involves leaves turning or walking through new fallen snow when the storyline has only progressed a few days.
It is very important that details that are added to create depth to the story do not detract from the reader’s enjoyment. The writer has to take the reader with them as they progress through the story, rather than jerk them around with gaps. The best thing to do is to write straight through, beginning to end because that is how the reader will approach the story. After the first draft is completed, then go back and do rewrites. The first draft provides the framework on which to build.
When I write, I do not allow myself to think about the story, unless I'm at the keyboard. It is too easy to let the story advance in one's mind and leave the reader out of the process. It creates jumps. Jumping around in the timeline is just plain sloppy writing. Yet quite a few people do it.
Organic writing flows better than working off of a strictly detailed outline. We will simply pass on the acquisition if the writing is mechanical, stiff, or weak. Write your best story. Submit your best draft.
I noticed this. Check it out.

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