Reply To: Student: Rebecca Dunbar Homework Thread

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Linnea Sinclair

I think the the ah-ha moment was only tell them what they need to know. This one is hard for me, because there are aspects of my characters I want to tell the readers about but they don’t really need to know or understand. It makes sense when you think about it in the terms of the article how readers are left to interpret these items differently. I can think of books that I’ve read or proofed that had items like this in them, and I found myself flipping back to sections to reread where I missed information in the book. More often the answer is I did not miss the information but interpreted the story or feelings incorrectly and was reading the book with a different view book than the author intended.  I mean and these are published authors, not just someone trying to write like me.

Yeppers, and if the reader doesn’t need to know it, then they DON’T NEED TO KNOW IT. 🙂 That is–especially in the first chapter–they don’t need to know IT. They need to FEEL it, to FEEL the impact or the results or the effects of IT. Can you all understand that difference?

Don’t tell me your MC was sexually abused by her uncle. SHOW ME her flinching when the guy in the elevator bumps against her. Let me FEEL her frisson of fear or revulsion. Make me WONDER (ie: keep reading to find out because of that danged dopamine) WHY.

As for published authors who don’t effectively craft things… it’s a different world today. Apologies if I step on some toes, but published no longer guarantees professionally crafted. Published sometimes means I threw some words on a page and hit a button on Amazon and wow, lookee that, I done be an awther.

Now–to be fair–there are also NY edited/published authors with sloppy craft. A lot depends on the editor and the editor/copy editor/author relationship. It can also depend on the editor’s/copy editor’s skill level. I had one MS come back from the copy editor (at Bantam) and she changed every use of the word “sighted” to “cited.” Except that the story was an SF/crime/police plot and one does NOT “cite” a rifle unless one is issuing it a…citation. One SIGHTS a rile as one aims. :: insert large sigh :: And since, with Bantam, the ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) that are sent to reviewers and corporate book buyers and such are printed from the copy editor’s file… I’m sure there are a bunch of reviewers and corporate types out there who think Linnea Sinclair is an idiot. :: insert larger sigh :: (And, yes, NY review copies DO contain the disclaimer that the ARC is produced from the unedited working file… but who pays attention to disclaimers?)

So, yes. IMHO and IMHE publication itself is no guarantee of craft excellence (or even an attempt at same).

Tune your ear for proper crafting. Read it. Learn it. Practice it. Get a good crit partner who will ding you relentlessly. We are all error-blind to our own mistakes. Yours truly included, as I am the Queen of Finger Farts.

//Interstellar Adventure Infused with Romance//


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