Tuesday, February 2, 2010

If You Start Something - Finish It...

O.K., so in the last couple of days, I have seen a lot of stories come across my desk. Unfortunately, many of the stories in this round of submissions is getting the lack of depth rejection. What was interesting though, was the trend I saw with the stories. Many of the authors would get going on a point that really had some potential, and then, out of the blue, they backed off of the issue and didn't go into the depth and detail we needed to fully get into the story. In other words, they started something but didn't finish it.

If you want to start off a story by getting us into the mind of the villain (something I personally hate) then really go for it. Let us see how weird the character is. Let us see why this character is doing this. Now obviously you don't want to throw everything out in the beginning. Teasing us is good, but take the time to study that section of your story. What is your goal? What little tidbit of information do you want to get across to the reader.

I read a story just today that had a character held prisoner by a demon. Sure, the writer did a great job of making it dark and gloomy. Sure, I realized this was a place I wouldn't want to be, but in the end, I was simply lost. I had no idea who the character was that was being thrown around the room by this "demonic" character? I got a name, but that was all. When the story shifted to, apparently, another time, or place, I was still left wondering what I had just gone through. Now I was busy trying to figure out what this new character was doing and how it would all fit together. I knew it had, but I was still in a state of questioning shock.

I have a feeling a lot of writers do this because they believe they are "creating tension" or they are "creating a great hook." Sure, this concept can work, but it needs to be done after we have accomplished something in that section.

Your homework today is really simple. Look at the sections of your book. For some of you, it may be chapters, for others it may be 1/2 chapters. Most likely it is when you shift from one scene to the next, or one POV to the next. As you look at that scene, determine what you want the reader to leave with. It shoul dbe something substantial and something that actually heads you in the direction of your ultimate goal or thesis for the story. Now see if you have left us hanging. If you didn't push it far enough, take the time today to fix it.

Have a fun day!


1 comment:

  1. Thank you Scott this is very interesting. As a reader, I notice myself skimming over parts of books I read lately because authors dump information that slows the pace down. Is it possible to have too much depth? When does it cross that line and become overload?