Friday, August 12, 2011

"I'll get to that later in the story" and other nonsensical things writers say

Now when I say "writers" I mean the ones who have yet to be published, who post their stuff on forums in the hopes for feedback from their fellow writers. However, I've been noticing lately that there are a lot of writers who dismiss the questions and advice from their critters.

What's that you say? You'll get to that later in the story?  Well, what happens if I stop reading right now?  Why is the answer to my question in act two rather than in act one? There must be this assumption going on that if a reader starts reading that they must read the entire story from start to finish. News flash: The reader is in no way obligated to continue reading, especially if they're finding plot holes in the first page of your story!

Here's another one: Ambiguous intros. Yes, by all means start your story with a disoriented narrator who rambles and doesn't have a clue what the hell is going on, because that's a sure fire way to confuse your reader and make them put down your story. Characters are great, but you need to give the reader a setting to vis-ua-lize, otherwise the characters are floating in space. Also, readers are going to imagine their own settings in order to make sense of your nonsense, and of course, their interpretation is going to vary. In one case, a guy had posted an ambiguous intro and some critters thought the setting was a warzone because the main character was bleeding all over the place. Surprise, surprise, that's not what the author had intended. But you know, what do you expect when you don't give readers that vital information? 

And no, explaining the intro afterwards does not count. Your intro either stands on its own or it doesn't.

Basic science brought to you by 
Professor Pinky Floyd
Oh, and my favorite: Being defensive! This goes back to the fact that if your story isn't doing its job (i.e. telling the story in a clear manner) then you're doing it wrong. You want to be stubborn and resist the suggestion given by people who are trying to help improve your story (granted, not all suggestions are good ones), then fine, no one really cares one way or another. However, I do care if you've wasted my time. Say "thank you" and just move along with your misconceptions. Don't snigger, don't try to explain your position, because undoubtedly you are wrong and just making a fool of yourself. Yes, I saw one person try to argue that "powerful energy" would leave a trail of pretty colors in a void. Has no one ever heard of refraction? C'mon, it's Pink Floyd's symbol!

Anyway, these are just a few of the joys of critiquing. Doesn't it look like fun? But really, I do enjoy critiquing because it not only helps the writer but me as well; it's good practice to hone in on your skills as a writer. But you know, sometimes...sheesh!

1 comment:

  1. I'm not fond of super defensive writers. Critiques are going to point out flaws. It hurts a bit. Just nod and say thank you and choose what to change and what to keep.