3/19/12

Repetition kills stories

On Saturday, I decided to read a book that I had downloaded as a freebie.

No--I'm not mentioning the title or the author. All I will mention was that it was a paranormal romance.

Suffice it to say that it wasn't worth my time.

But it taught a great lesson--

Mindless repetition kills stories.

And, THANK GOD I have a wonderful CP (*shoutout to Meg Reid*) who will gently beat the snot out of me if I did this.

Since this was downloaded onto my Kindle, I can only give percent completed instead of page numbers.

10% The first part was good, not great, but a good start. Since I'm a writer and a reader, I could tell that it had been entered in some contests. NO, I never judged it, but it felt clean, straight forward.

Right around the 10% point, the story took on the soap opera effect. Where everything could be cleared up provided there was actual conversation between the hero and heroine.

Right about now, the author told the reader--for about the fifth time--about the hidden secrets the heroine needed to discover about her father. Hero knows the secret, but he's not talking. Heroine wants to be herself, but is in total denial about how she really is.

Usually when a writer writes a paranormal romance, she will choose one type of paranormal 'thing'. This author decided to include all of them from the heroine who sees ghosts, to the centuries old hero (angel or demon?) to vamps, to weres, to witches, to a demon/devil barred in the basement.

And I will bet you money that she included a kitchen sink in there somewhere.

Yeah, talk about overkill.

Yes--I've done this before . . . on the very first novel that I wrote, which will never see the light of day. AND when I've done it on recent stories, I like to think that I've learned to edit myself to stop it--which explains why I'm rewriting TROLL!

Add in the obligatory lust scene. Secrets mentioned again. AND then I skipped ahead to about the 25%

Same secrets, blah, blah, blah, secrets, ghosts, blah, blah, horniness, secrets, blah, blah, blah.

At this point I stopped reading and deleted the story . . . now I need to figure out how to PERMANENTLY DELETE it. Yes, it was that bad.

I know the brave new world of publishing is allowing more authors to share their stories, but we must all remember to edit ourselves and make that story the best it can possibly be--even if it means a drastic rewrite.

Please listen to your CP's, especially the ones who don't pull their punches. True writing friends/CP's aren't out to pull you down, they really do want to make the story better.

Listen to them.

Oh, and I started reading a tried and true author for me--Jayne Ann Krentz--now I need to get back to see what Fallon and Isabelle are up to!

Later, Peeps!

8 comments:

Cynthia D'Alba said...

I'm grinning. I started a book last night that was free on Amazon. It was a reprint from 1992 and was supposedly a well-received book. It was a contemporary western...my favorite. Except I got to chapter four and was so bored - irritated at both hero/heroine actions - uninterested that I read the epilogue and quit.

magolla said...

I've found that I don't have the time or the patience to finish a book that can't keep my interest, Cyndi.

Up until last year, I would have stuck it out a little longer, but not any more.

Twisted Sister said...

{{blush}} Thanks, Margaret!
You've made ME a better writer.
I love your story, so I want it to be the best.

I've got a SEP I'm listening to. Makes cleaning the garage sooo much easier.

Marilyn said...

I think I may have read that book, Mags. Except that I PAID for mine. I couldn't remember titles/names if you paid me, but seriously, it was a paranormal kitchen-sink book. No motivation anywhere in its way-too-many pages. I also read it masquerading as an award-winning historical. Gah. ;)

Probably the best piece of advice my former agent gave me was right after I signed with her: trust in your skill to get a point across the first time. These days if I repeat something, either it needs the emphasis or my gray hair has sucked out the brain cells that recognize repetition.

Marilyn said...

I think I may have read that book, Mags. Except that I PAID for mine. I couldn't remember titles/names if you paid me, but seriously, it was a paranormal kitchen-sink book. No motivation anywhere in its way-too-many pages. I also read it masquerading as an award-winning historical. Gah. ;)

Probably the best piece of advice my former agent gave me was right after I signed with her: trust in your skill to get a point across the first time. These days if I repeat something, either it needs the emphasis or my gray hair has sucked out the brain cells that recognize repetition.

Marilyn said...

Sorry -- it said I missed the I'm-not-a-robot phrase and gave me another, then posted both times.

magolla said...

No, THANK YOU, Meg!

Sometimes it doesn't take much for me to rework an entire section--'it's kinda slow' works volumns with me!

magolla said...

When I saw 3 posts from you pop up in my email, I got a little worried, Marilyn!

Over the last year, I've paid for a few of them myself, too. :-P

I think that's the bad thing about owning an electronic reader--I sometimes download before I read a sample OR check the price!