Monthly Archives: August 2012

Sharing without Caring

Well I’m a working woman now!

Ok…so I’m an interning woman.

It’s still fun, though!  I’m not going to say where I’m interning, but I will say that I’m getting to read a lot of query letters and sample manuscripts, and I’ve learned a lot.  One thing I learned I will now share with you here.

A lot of books that come through are nonfiction, though this advice can apply to fiction as well.  What these nonfiction writers often do is provide a lot of information about their life, or the life of someone close to them, without giving the reader a reason to care.  And I understand why this mistake is made.  I mean, you know your life is interesting.  You know that the time you found a cure for skin cancer while rescuing a beached whale is the most important moment of your life.  And you know that this story is very important, and should be shared with the world.

The only problem is that the readers don’t know.  They don’t know what’s happened, and even reading the synopsis on the back of the book isn’t going to captivate them for very long if they’re not given a reason to care.  There are exceptions to every rule of course, but for the most part, even nonfiction stories of whale saving/cancer curing need to have more to them than just that one event.  They have to have good writing, sure, but I like to see a full story.  I wrote before about making a timeline for the various events in a story, and that only works if your book has more than one event to put on the timeline.  What kind of person were you before you saved the whale?  How did you change after the whale was saved?  What’s your whole story?  Give me that, and I’ll care much more about the big events in your life.  I’ll begin to understand for myself why they’re important, instead of having to take your word for it.

I can tell that I’m on to something here, because I have read some really good nonfiction since I started work last Tuesday, and I’ve read some nonfiction with a lot of potential to be good, that really just couldn’t keep my interest.  That’s the difference you want to make.  And, as I said, it applies to fiction, too.  You’ve got to give your reader some context as to why they’re reading.

Because if you saved a whale, but made a habit of drowning kittens in your youth, that’s something I want to know.

Word of the Day: Captivate (v) – to attract and hold the attention or interest of, as by beauty or excellence; enchant

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May Contain Sex

I am not actually dead!  I just went on a vacation of sorts and the place where I am staying does not have internet.  I’ll be back in Los Angeles in a couple weeks, and then I’ll update more frequently…maybe.

So today’s post…

Have you ever been to the Romance section of a book store?  I’m sure I’ve talked about this before, but I can never make fun of Romance novels enough, so I’m going to keep bringing up the subject every now and again.  What I like to do is go into the Romance section, pick out a random book, and just read the back cover.  That right there is comic gold.  The best ones are the books that have the cliché titles with all the “romantic” buzzwords like Late Night Prom Marriage Sex or Midnight Kiss Love Farts.

And then the cover features some scantily clad man or woman or both, and the synopsis on the back goes something like:

Susie-May June Snooklebottom is an underpaid waitress struggling to jumpstart her career as a poet/interior decorator, and is definitely absolutely not looking for love right now because she has other things to focus on.  Then one day an incredibly attractive, chiseled man with blonde hair and blue eyes and a yacht takes a break from whatever the hell it is he does to go into a random restaurant and fall in love with a random waitress.  At first Susie-May June is reluctant to get to know said hot man, because she is a confident woman, but after she gets a look at the size of his…heart, she falls in love.  But will Random Easily Avoidable Conflict prevent their beautiful true love from blossoming?  No, probably not.  Also there will be sex.  Lots of it.

Yeah, I have fun with those.  I also realize that there is never a shortage of them.  And it clicked for me in a Barnes and Noble a day or so ago…I could become a published author in seconds.  All I have to do is write the book that belongs to the above synopsis.  That would take me all of three days probably, and since there are always middle-aged cat ladies looking to score with a good trashy novel, there’s no way I wouldn’t get published.  That’s why I’ve decided to write that book.  I’m not kidding.  I’m totally going to do it.  It’s not like it would take any time or effort.  And if you’re real nice to me, I might just share some of it with you.  Or not.  We’ll see if I actually follow through with this promise.

Ok that’s all I have to say.  Until next time, my love!

Word of the Day:  Infatuation (n) – foolish or all-absorbing passion or an instance of this.

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