Fool Me Once: Authors, Don’t Do This To Your Readers

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I’ve been duped. Duped I tell ya, duped.

And I’m not happy about it. And you shouldn’t be either.

I picked up a book by an author because of a couple of positive reviews it received. “I’ll give it a shot,” I said. “I’m always looking for new reads, and I’m always happy to find new, or let’s just say, lesser-publicized authors to read.”

I got home with the thinner than expected book, which folks are now calling novels. These shorter length books used to be called novellas, maybe, but they’re nowhere near the number of words I associate with a novel. But that’s neither here nor there. A good story is a good story, no matter what you call it. And this was right up my alley, a “dark psychological thriller”, the jacket boasted. “You won’t believe the twisted ending”.

Yeah, I didn’t believe the ending all right. But not because of the dark psychological twist.

Oh no.

I didn’t believe the ending because I WAS DUPED. Duped by the author. And I was always taught that that’s a big no-no in a fiction book.

The beginning started out interesting, and then the characters started picking up steam in their own, quirky way.

Good deal, I thought.

The tension was slowly building, in a creepy sort of way. I’m invested at this point and reading on. About halfway through the book, a couple of things happened without explanation that would’ve raised questions from anyone following along. But they were never addressed, passed over as normal or coincidence, maybe. Then more, and more.

The ending came in fast and furious fashion, containing the aforementioned twist and unbelievable finale. It also, however, was narrated around some serious gear switching, an abrupt reversal of the previous storyline, and then, one simple explanation.

“What you’ve been reading is a story from a twisted mind that may have made up facts, encounters, and situations based on what they perceive as reality. Oh yeah, and this packet of papers that you just read, (meaning the book), was, in fact, his sick mind’s way of leaving a suicide note.”

What? WHAT? Are you freakin’ serious?

Twisted reality I can get behind but made up just to carry the story through? And “perceived” by the author?

This is akin to having a dream sequence erasing the validity of the whole previous storyline. An easy way out when you paint yourself into a corner: A way to bring back a favorite character after the outrage of killing them off.

C’mon man.

Fool me once, but I do still possess somewhat of a memory, and believe this fact. Next time I see that author’s name on an interesting looking cover, I will likely move on to another author’s work. And that’s not just a perceived reality.

Authors, don’t do that to your regular or future readers.

We deserve better.

 

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Writers Are Always Working, Even When We’re Not

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Well, it’s been a bit, hasn’t it?

With the writing I mean. Your WIP. More specifically, with my WIP, actually.

All I can say is that life happens, you know?

Family matters, when serious enough, must take precedence and get priority treatment, of course. Mix that in with the deadlines of the paying job, and before you know it, your WIP, well, mine anyway, has a fine layer of dust on top of it and a couple of scenes that we can barely remember, right?

Right…

So once things calm down and get back to a more manageable, routine pace, those undeniable urges to get back to your writing passion return to haunt and taunt you, making you feel guilty about the neglect, and even making you doubt yourself again. The hot writing streak has ended, and you’re left slouched in the chair trying to stay awake by thinking about everything except the details of your story in progress.

Or are you?

I found that there is a shining light at the end of this long, seemingly endless tunnel. And it’s right there in my own head.

Strangely enough, I noticed that even though it was difficult to get the time and space to sit down and get involved with the ongoing plotting and writing of my story, my brain apparently never quit working on it, even if it had to wait until it was in the subconscious mode to get to it.  I would wake up sometimes thinking about certain scenes, characters, and plotlines even though I hadn’t given it any thought on that particular day. Of course, then I tried to immediately jot something down resembling keywords in the hopes of later triggering my memory to retrieve those thoughts or risk losing them for good (See examples of this behavior here). Unfortunately, some of my hastily written notes look more like hieroglyphics than keywords, and no, my WIP has nothing to do with Egypt or the carvings and etchings that they used.

What I’m saying is, not all writing is putting letters down on paper or making tapping noises on your keyboard. We’re still working when we’re thinking. We’re still working when we’re playing out different scenarios and plotlines in our head. We’re still working when we’re sitting there silently looking out of the window into an open space. We’re not working, however, when we’re sitting there silently looking out of the window into an open space with our forehead leaning against the window attached to a smooshed, stretched face that’s stuck to the window because of the moderate amount of drool escaping our half-open mouth.

But then again, maybe we are. Subconsciously. Maybe we really are.

In that case, we writers are really working twenty-four hours a day, so if you would be so kind as to excuse me, I’m going to take a nap.

I’m exhausted.

 

Don’t Discount Those Non-Writing Achievements And Successes

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Word counts. Chapters. Scenes. We all have our way of measuring our progress, don’t we?

And then, when we miserably fail to reach our goal on a particular day… and we will… we label ourselves losers, failing yet again, and never wanting to chicken-peck that terrible old keyboard again.

Go ahead and feel sorry for yourself if you must, giving yourself one hundred percent of the blame for your day’s lack of goal attainment. But can you also, for one moment, give yourself credit for the other things that you DID get done, you know, those things that may have prevented you from attaining your word counts and writing goals?

Things that life or family or friends or work threw your way in the waning moments of your day that just couldn’t be pushed off? Emergencies that had to be dealt with? Helping others that are at the farther end of their rope than you are?

You get my drift?

Non-writing goals, man. Non-writing goals. Don’t discount them. In fact, you should celebrate them. Reaching a goal, no matter what part of your life they pertain to should be cause for celebration, but you never see a decorated cake for that, now do you?

No, you don’t, and it’s too bad because whenever you reach a goal, you make yourself a better person in one way or another. Achievements give us confidence, yet we tend to dwell on the negative, because, let’s face it, us writer folk can be a sorry bunch at times, so consumed with our personal writing success that we fail to recognize all the good that we’re doing otherwise. It’s a thing, I’m sure, and if anyone wants to get into the psychological aspects, have at it.

But we know that reaching goals makes us all the warm and fuzzy inside, which generally leads to a more pleasant disposition on the outside.

A more pleasant disposition will lead to better relationships, more satisfaction in your current situation, and less moping around thinking “Why me” and “What if”. It’s the whole power of positive thinking angle with a conscious choice to be happy.

Didn’t get your word count in today? So what.

A chapter short? Big Deal.

But DO tell me more about what you DID get done today. I bet it was awesome!

 

#HappyWriting