There is not a writer in all the land who can write to please everyone. We simply cannot please everyone. Never-ever-ever! However, as readers we can sometimes unrealistically expect some sort of perfection—and if we are a writer and/or editor reading, perhaps we are a bit more arrogant in our persnickityness.
For me, it may begin that way as I read the first few chapters of a book, a sort of noticing too much, but then something magical happens and I tap in to the rhythm of the character’s world, and soon I am swept away! I love it when that happens—and if it doesn’t happen or something akin to it, soon I put down the book.
As writers, we do what we do and put our passion and love and work and angst—well, all that stuff—into our words and worlds. But that’s not enough. We must also know the whys and hows of some rules sometimes, even if only to break the rules effectively and with glee. Wheee!
Our stories become lyrical and strong when we pay attention not only to rules, but when we take care of/with our manuscripts so that our characters come alive and the reader forgets about the writer and is swept away.
Grammar rules are not as subjective as are those “rules” Some Writer or Person or Someone Somewhere Who We Often Call “They” suggest we follow (and often “They” are correct). The RSWOPOSSWWOCT can vary from writer-to-writer and reader-to-reader and editor-to-editor. That makes things so super clear, doesn’t it? haha!
I hate putting down a book. Hate it! I won’t often do this and it takes a badly written messy book for me to toss it, but if I think a writer didn’t give a crap enough to clean up their manuscript, then why should I care enough to read their work?
Bad book tossing aside, there are things here and there that will bug me enough to bump me out of a story, and, if I am bumped enough, I may close the cover and never open it again.
Here’s a few:
The Surrrpriiiiiise! Ending. The one that makes me, your reader, feel cheated, as if I were along for the ride only to be kicked out of the car as the driver laughs and laughs at my dumbfounded expression. Or perhaps that hit-a-brick-wall feeling—I’m in that metaphorical car again but this time the driver runs smack into a brick wall while going “AHA! I got YOU!” I suppose the Surprise Ending is coupled with the I Just Ended It Here ending.
Surprise endings are great and wonderful, if the writer is effective in writing the ending that leaves the reader breathless with “Oh . . . my . . . god! I did not see that coming, but how COOL!” If your ending is only meant to “shock” the reader for shocks-sake, then you are going to piss me off.
The piss-off-a-reader ending is one you stick on the end because you are in a hurry to finish the story, or you just can’t figure out how to pull your character(s) out of the mess they made, or you are bored, or you are ready to move on to another story, or—you get the idea, right? Yes? No? Wheeee—ain’t writtin’ fun! [Read more…]