One of the comments I find myself making time and time again with submissions deals with a forced story. I thought that I would take the time today to briefly talk about what I meant by that comment.
Essentially, when I see a story that appears to be forced, it deals with numerous issues including the fluency of the story, the language and certainly the storyline. It isn’t always one thing or another, but the general tone of the story is one that seems to struggle off the page instead of simply falling into my lap. Remember that you want the reader to really whiz through your story. Not rushing it per se, but just wanting the story to keep moving and not wanting to stop reading. A story that is forced, however, is one that takes more concentration to read, and one that really stops and starts.
Let’s deal with the fluency and language. When we deal with this issue, the easiest way to describe it would be how well the story wants to be read out loud. There is a musical nature to things. The adverbs and adjectives the reader uses are natural and ones that the everyday person would be dealing with. I see this one more than anything in romance novels. Sometimes a writers has worked so hard for that “perfect” word to describe a color of a dress that in the end, it hurt the flow of the story. Look, why not just call it a purple dress. Now, I am not saying to dumb the story down, but keep in mind, how does the story sound when read aloud. Of course there is the other side of this. Sometimes writers have struggled so hard to get those words to sound “magical” off the page that it becomes almost arrogant and egotistical. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of contemporary poets describing the metaphors in their poem about their pet gold fish Spike. Don’t go overboard.
The final area deals with the forcing of characters. I think many writers struggle so hard to find a “great conflict” for a story that they put together characters who both would never get together, but come off as cartoonish. I had a story submitted to me several years ago about a heroine similar to Paris Hilton who is a) walking down a dark
I have tried to say this before, but I would rather have a great simple story without all of the complications of extensive plots than a story with no depth but a lot of action. Think BEFORE
Off to have a simpler day.
Scott C. Eagan