Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How Do I measure Up?

Last weekend as well as Monday, I downloaded some books from Amazon that were comparable to what I'm planning to publish. I wanted to know if I was hitting the mark or falling short. Most of them were short, thank goodness, and I'm a fast reader, I'm making decent progress.

I think I'm going to give myself A-/B+. I'm still falling short in a certain area, but that would be the case no matter what I'm writing because I know it's a weakness of mine that working towards shoring up.

Things I don't dumps at the beginning of a book. That's one thing being mentored by RWA and Harlequin teaches you: info dumps in any part of a book are generally not good. Now, I don't subscribe to every "rule" that's been thrown at me by both of these illustrious organizations, but that's a good one to remember.

Another "practice" of the romance genre--well maybe all genres, now that I think of it--is the idea of a big black moment or the point at which all seems lost. You know what I mean. That big scene at the end of a book or film when you wonder how the protagonist is going to get out of the predicament he or she finds him- or herself in. I read recently, "The reader wants to worry." It doesn't haven't to be worry on an apocalyptic scale, but that worry is one of the things that generally keeps readers turning the pages. Will the secret come to light? Will she get the job? Will she get the boy? Will they live happily ever after? That I do...which leads into the next point.

A couple of the books I read had basically no or little conflict. I was mostly bored. A good lesson to learn (or remember) because sometimes I hate making my own characters squirm. But a check of all my books so far shows escalating conflict. Nothing earth-shattering because I don't write that, but hopefully enough for readers to want to know what comes next.

The last little trick I came across that I will never pull is leaving the reader on a cliffhanger and dangling the resolution as bait for a newsletter signup or some-such. Whether my tale is long or short, free or for money, I would never not give the reader the whole story.

I will admit that I've been toying with idea of writing the story of a secondary character from book one in serial format. But it will be clear that's what's going on and it will be available to anyone who wants to read it without having to pay for it with an e-mail address.

I think I measure up okay. Only time and publication will tell. :)

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