Before I took classes, online webinars, writing conferences and other educational pursuits to become an author, I was and still remain an avid reader. The world of Indie writers has been a delightful journey of new and interesting material and with the ability to speed read; I devour daily the written word.
Of course, I would like to selfishly believe this makes me a connoisseur of fine writing. In reality, I’m just an average person who has a few pet peeves about how stories are written.
For instance, never name your primary characters with similar names, like Jack and Jace, or Miranda and Miriam, or Jonathan and John. It is bad enough if two characters have names that start with the same letter, but when the second letter or the first three are similar, even a slow reader is going to get confused. It interrupts the flow of reading. I have to go back to figure out who is speaking or interacting in the scene, especially if both characters are in the scene together.
*** “We need to be at the pick-up point by nine,” Jace said.
Jack’s tawny hair swayed as he whipped around to face Jace. “Why did we move up the time?”
Jace shrugged his shoulder. “I don’t know.” Jack’s eyes narrowed, suspicion lurking in the blue depths.***
Confused? Try a whole chapter like that! Another pet peeve is when an author inserts a seemingly innocuous moment or item. As a mystery reader, I’ve learned to look for clues as to what will be important later on in the story. The following is an example of that.
***** Her hands shook as she continued to dig through the moldy cloth. Her fingers hit something cold, small and square. As she pulled it out the burnished gleam of gold caught her eye. The little box was plain, no ornaments or carvings to mar its smooth surface. Her finger traced over the tiny lock keeping its secrets secure. Impatient to find the key, she turned back to the ancient cloth covering the contents of the old wood chest. Clawing at it she discovered gold coins, a golden goblet and a few twinkling gems.******
So is it just me or would you go crazy wondering what was in the box? If this was at the very beginning of the story and yet, we never hear about that gold box again, wouldn’t you continue to wonder why it was mentioned? I would keep waiting for it to reappear and make some sense as to why it was even in the story.
It’s like settling down for a long movie. You have wrapped yourself in your favorite blanket with popcorn and soda pop within reach. You are deeply involved in the story unfolding before you and then you have to go to the bathroom. Do you put the movie on pause now, or wait until the intense scene is over while your bladder pleads for mercy? It interrupts your enjoyment, your interest and the storyline as you dash for the bathroom. For a second you have to come back to the real world.
It is irritating to be reading a scene you are so engrossed in, only to be jarred into the present by bad grammar, incorrect punctuation, dialogue that is off, a scene that ends too abruptly, or my most unfavorite, a cliff hanger ending with no resolution. As if the author tired of writing and decided to let you decide how it would end. Or how about an ending where suddenly you are in the height of action and it ends, leaving a myriad of loose ends begging to be explained or resolved.
I love stories that are like a fine dessert. Where the ingredients are blended so well together it is like heaven on my palate. This makes me eager to order that dessert again and again. Like waiting for a favorite author’s work to be released so I can enjoy another great story.. It is artwork at its best when it all comes together and I can leave this earthly plane for a while to exist in another world.
So when you dezign your word desert please think of you’re rea;ders. It well help you in your search for that aphid reeder.