Most of April was me waxing philosophical about a number of topics. It was fun, but reminded me of an article I read not too long ago. It said that in stories, authors tend to like exploring a character’s thoughts, but readers prefer action.
So, so true.
I’m reading a self-published novel by someone right now, and it’s very much in the character’s head. Yes, there’s action, but I can only hear about the character’s internal conflict so many times before I want to scream.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… oops, wrong story… anyway, I was at a writer’s conference, and the editor running the session said that self-publishing can only hurt you, unless you happen to sell a lot of books. Reading this particular novel right now, I can see why that is. There are spelling mistakes! And the use of the wrong “your!” I know these things sometimes creep into fiction published by a house, but it’s not as often. Any spelling mistakes drive me crazy, even though I know they happen to everyone (even me… yes… even me…). I wonder if a good editor would have read the book I’m reading now and said, “Tighten that up! We don’t need to hear the protagonist’s internal struggle with this… again!”
I know I have the same problem when I’m writing something. I tend to want to make absolutely, positively sure my reader knows what I’m trying to get at. Then I read something like this and I remember, readers aren’t dumb! They get it! And if you have to say it, you didn’t do a good job of showing it!
That being said, the book I’m reading now is a good one. In my opinion as a reader (and a writer), it was just published several drafts too early. I intend to finish it as it’s a good story, and pretty fast paced when I skip over all the internal drama stuff.
It’s like Stephen King said, sometimes you can learn more from other’s mistakes than from their successes.