I got out of bed to write this post. It kept swirling around in my head so I am here to flush it out. Sorry for the potty references, but that is exactly what has me feeling so stabby. I read 1.5 books and a prologue this week and I have nothing to report. Why? Because I refuse to outright bash another writer’s work when I am trying so hard to make it myself. And I do know it is hard. I also am trying to remind myself that it was not a week wasted. Reading and seeing the mistakes in others works hopefully helps you learn not to do the same thing. So what have I learned?
Book #1 — I got 60% through this paranormal romance. Self-published. Over 200+ 5-star reviews on Amazon. And I have to wonder what crack people were smoking when they read this book and gave it 5 stars. Give me some of that because it must be good stuff. Maybe they only read the first 20%, because the author reeled me in during the beginning. This was likely the only reason why I didn’t chuck my Kindle across the room when the back story started to get so thick I couldn’t breathe. The characters were actually reading books about their back story to inform me of their back story. Then a new character was introduced in the second half of the book and I was immediately plunged into a flashback to tell me what their back story was. Gah! Back story and flashbacks slow down your pacing. Stick them both in the middle of a book with a sagging middle and I want to clock you over the head with your own book.
Book #2 – I read mainly paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and fantasy. I love a good love story, but only when it is woven into a tale that excites me in other ways other than my groin. I can’t remember where I read it, but if you have a story with a vampire and you could just as easily make that vampire a tough cop, tweak a few words, and essentially have the same story, it is not a paranormal story. I actually read this book all the way through. The “paranormal” elements hovered above the story the entire time, never fully attaching, never fully making me believe it. Why did I keep reading? Well, the groin stuff, yes, this author does know how to write a good
sex love scene. *wink*
And also, I think that I tend to like paranormal romances and urban fantasies because they have something contemporary romances don’t. They have grit. They have an edge. They get dirty and they like it. Blood is spilled and it is okay. This story was too nice. Too round around the edges.
Book #3 – I did not make it past the prologue on this one. And I am a person who likes, and occasionally writes, prologues. Please, for heaven’s sake, do NOT make your prologue a dumping ground for back story. Guess what I read? And why is this? Because at this point I have just opened the book and I don’t care about your back story. I don’t care about the world you have taken 6 months or a year to develop. What is going to make me care? Characters. Situations. Plot. Then you weave that back story in like you are hiding the stray threads from a massive quilt you just took a year to sew.
This week I really hope I can find myself a good story to read. For my sake and for yours. Sorry about the stabby. 🙂
If you are writing a paranormal novel and looking for guidance, besides reading a ton of books in the genre, I would highly recommend Writing the Paranormal Novel by Steven Harper.