It’s Friday and it’s an amazing sunny day out there… the first really nice day in a while over here in Portland. We are used to rain here, but sometimes when it lingers into June, we are puzzled by it. I am all for mild summers and lots of rain, I confess. I hate heat. I’m part mole, so I prefer to be in the cloud-filtered light and gloom, pale-skinned and squinting in the sun (when I do bother to venture into it and risk scorching myself red). Aaaaaaanyway, let me get to why I really decided to post a blurb today.
[whining] I got totally slammed by one of the editors doing test-edits of my first chapter yesterday. It was like he threw a first-edition of War and Peace at my head. I warned him! I told him the first chapter was ‘information heavy’ when I sent it to him. Of course it is… Here I am starting a story set twenty years after the prior one, and also assuming that not every reader is going to know what the heck is going on, having not read the first book… so I did a little bit of overcompensation in the first ten pages of Tinna’s Might. Shame on me!
That scares me, because I know how I am as a reader, and if the first few pages are hard to get through, I rarely ever keep plugging along until the author finds their stride. I’ll groan in annoyance and huck the book onto my dresser and then forget about it until library donation day. Part of the reason why I stopped doing reviews for my friend is because MANY, MANY, MANY of those independently published books were not written in a way to draw the reader in, making it impossible to get past the first chapter. I’d read one or two pages, and already be miserable. I’d give it a few more pages, and find my eyes and brain distracted by my dogs, by a steller’s jay outside, by someone driving past the house, by a random shiny thing… anything BUT the story that’s on the page. I would rather jam a fork into my eye than to produce a book like that…
So yes! I know, I know… I’m aware of this problem and I haven’t fixed it! Truth be told, I am having trouble figuring out how to break up this huge wad of background information and to sprinkle it around more evenly over a broader area… I’m not confident about how long a reader will want to wait to learn why certain things are the way they are. I need to back off my text for a few weeks, and then re-approach it with fresher eyes, and try to look at it like a reader again instead of being the storyteller.
The editor in essence chucked a sharp-cornered book at my head, frankly. It hurt but I needed it. I knew it was there, I warned him it was there, but why didn’t I just take care of it when I did my last revision? Because it’s DAUNTING. [/whining]
Anyway… onward we push, I suppose. Have a delightful weekend.