Thursday, May 2, 2013

What's Your Problem? Inadequate Plotting, Weak Setting or Boring Characters? by DL Larson

After reading Morgan's post yesterday I have to speak up.  Right now I'm judging a few published books for a contest.  Both are well written - with their word choices.  It's the words that are NOT there that bother me.  Let me explain.

The first book I judged is a sci-fiction.  Obviously that means things are different than our human standards.  The reader wants to know these differences, they do NOT want to have to play detective to discover how this new world works.  The writer needs to write the words that will bring this world to life.  Or the characters into focus.  The reader needs purpose and direction to understand the theme of the book.

Another problem that I see all too many times in sequels is the lack of explanation of each character's traits or past.  If a reader picks up a new book and begins to read and does not read about the basic premise of the plot, they are easily confused and likely to not finish the book. 

Introducing characters without some character description or relation to the theme of the book confuses the reader.  When writers do not take the time to create minor characters into "real" people, the book lacks depth.  And every time that lack-luster character is in a scene the scene is compromised because the character doesn't fill up the space as he/she should. 

My advice, as a reader and a writer:
1. Develop a scene so vivid your reader would recognize it outside the pages. 
2. Develop each character until she/he is three dimensional.  Paper characters are boring!
3. Develop your plot so it is the strongest thread throughout the book.  No matter how many times your characters detour from it, your reader knows/wants the plot to continue to completion.

I try to follow my own advice and often fail, only to work to make my words stronger.  I try to follow the advice I was given long ago: "Bring your writing level up to your taste level!"

Til next time ~

DL Larson

PS: still waiting for my book to be released!


Debra St. John said...

Great advice, Deb.

Sequels can be tricky. As a reader we need enough information to reground us in the story, but we don't need so much that entire sections are repeats of the previous book(s).

Deb Larson said...

And what a fine line that is!! Tricky is a good description.
Thanks for stopping by.

Morgan Mandel said...

Great advice, DL!

Morgan Mandel