I adore reading. Give me a cup of tea, a quiet place and a good book and you'll find me in a heaven (okay, and add a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie to really send my spirit soaring).
Oh, those stories that sweep me off, capture and hold my imagination, inviting me into a world unknown. Oh, those characters that leap from the page and become my new best friends, or my most beloved worse enemies!
Truly, I want to love reading your story. The one you've spent years developing, tweaking and fine tuning. The one, I hope, will become my favorite.
I can forgive a few missteps. A couple of typos here or there aren't going to make me stop reading. You have no idea how hard I'll fight for you. How many pages I'll endure before finally rendering my verdict.
There are but two things that will make me, sadly, give up and close your book, so please pay attention here, because I want you to succeed!
1) Please don't bore me.
You've dedicated time developing that all important back-story and character arc. You've filled in charts, fleshed out details, created a brave, new world. Hooray! You understand all the nuances of your story.
But do you need to share all of it? Really? I can't figure some of this stuff out on my own?
Let's do some reader/writer psychotherapy here. Listen carefully, now.
That's right. If you trust my intelligence and willingness to jump into your story, you won't need to add flashbacks, or large information dumps. You won't bog pacing down with endless clutter or description. Just give me enough to understand the framework. I'm happy to learn as the story unfolds.
The comedy standard can apply here: Always leave them wanting more.
2) Please don't frustrate me
I'll forgive typos, but I won't forgive inconsistencies.
Weather, season, personality quirks, all have to be consistent to remain invisible. Nothing jumps me from a story faster than when it's warm and summery on one page and snowing on another. Think that can't happen?
I just finished a novel written by a best-seller who shall remain nameless. The seasons jumped around like crazy, leaving me scratching my head. Imagine, a snowstorm fierce enough to pile drifts on one page, and the main character outside lying on the green grass on the next?
Did they think I wouldn't notice?
I gave it a good shot. But when the sloppy writing continued well into the mid section of the book, I closed the pages for the last time.
Which leads me to another psychology session:
Make the effort to edit your story. Dedicate time to your craft. Study, learn and grow so you can offer your best. There's no need to rush your book to print for me. Have beta readers give you feedback. Put your ego away and listen. Become the best invisible narrator possible.
And when you're done, I'll be here, waiting to dive into your wonderful book.