Wednesday, November 7, 2012


The first Wednesday of the month means it's time for another post on my writing insecurities as part of the ISWG, hosted by the talented Alex J. Cavanaugh; a.k.a. the Ninja Captain. This month Alex has two co-hosts helping him- LG Keltner and CM Brown. Both talented bloggers who would love it if you popped over and said hello. You can also say hello to the over 300 bloggers that are part of this group. 

So, what's bothering me? What is keeping me up, besides things that go bump in the night? This month's uncertainties lie in whether I can keep my readers turning the page. Is my writing strong enough to draw them in and hold them all the way to The End?

I have been on this writing journey for a few years now, and I've come to realize that readers are harsh critiques. They will put a book down in nano seconds, if something doesn't keep them turning the page. 

Think about it. When you go into a book store, or library, how long do you read a book before you decide it's not for you? Five minutes? Two? One? Nano seconds? My point exactly. Most times we don't get past the blurb on the jacket before we sort the book into the, to be read or not for me, pile. 

In this fast paced, over simulated world, black letters on a white page can seem quite unexciting. They don't move, sing, dance or jump out at you in 3-D. They just sit there, asking you to do something with them. Asking you to make the first move. Asking you to read them. To make time to fit this word puzzle together page by page, trusting that when you get to the end, you will like the story they've told. 

What makes a reader want to do that? Why would they want to remove themselves from their world and spend time in the one I've created? Is it the voice? Character? Setting or all of the above? Can I do all of the above? Can I make each chapter, page, word, exciting enough to make my readers want to turn the page?   
I hope so. As Einstein is quoted: "You never fail until you stop trying." I will keep trying and hopefully, create a world that makes my readers want to turn the page. 


16 comments:

L.G. Keltner said...

I know what you mean. We all make these choices quickly. It seems like the first thing I loo for is the plot: based on the blurb on the back, does the story sound exciting? I also look at the reviews that might be printed on the inside, or on the cover. After that, I'll give it a chance. Then it's up to pacing, voice, and characterization to keep me there.

As a writer, this process does worry me, because I know I have to meet all those expectations to even get in the reader's hand. It's daunting!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Pacing voice, characterization. Thanks L.G.! You are full of wisdom.

VikLit said...

It's true that we make these decisions quickly, but that's why writing is so subjective. Say you are writing about robots, some people will never read your robots book. But for some they'd be like YEAH ROBOTS the second you said the word robots. For the rest, it's presenting it as best you can, and making sure what's inside is presented as best you can. If that makes sense. Interesting post! Got me thinking!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Do I have the book for you, Jenn. Actually I have a few. Borrow a copy of Donald Maass's Breakout Novel the next time you're at the library. And don't forget his other book The Fire In Fiction. I promise read either one and you'll be fired up.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

@ Vik Lit, great advice I'm trying to present it as best I can and hope it's good enough. Glad you enjoyed the post.

@ Joylene, thanks for the book titles. I've already put one on library hold. Can't wait to get fired up!

November 7, 2012 1:26 PM

Livia said...

I can exactly what you mean! I'm very particular what genre I like to read and if the novel is not in the genre, I tend to put it down in a snap but I do give it a chance without a doubt.

T said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catherine Noble said...

It is quite scary when you think about it like that! You just have to look out there in the bestseller lists to realise people like all different things, so just look to yourself. What do you look for when you read a book? Why not take a trip to the library or bookstore and analyse those first few pages to see what it is that grabs you? Personally I go for whether a story sounds good as a whole, rather than whether a character sounds interesting, etc. I want to be entertained and have somewhere to escape this hideous world :)

Marcia said...

I totally know what you mean here. We have so little time to capture them!

Tara Tyler said...

exactly! they say "entertain me!" and so we start with juicy action and keep going, right? but some readers dont need that, they like a softer story with emotion. all depends on your audience...

thats why the blurb is so important & hard to master!

nutschell said...

girl, I have heard your work, and as a reader, I'm pretty sure i'll keep on turning the pages!
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Lynn Proctor said...

i tend to go for a catchy title and cover!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

@ Livia, I think you speak for 99% of the readers out there.

@ Catherine, I agree, reading is the perfect escape.

@ Marcia, Nano seconds. Kind of scary how short that is.

@ Tara, I know! How do you put everything in a blurb?

@ Nutschell, your comment gave me a BIG smile. Thank you!!!

@ Thanks Lynn, I got the catchy title. I'll work getting a catchy cover to match.

Johana Vera said...

Oh, God. It's beggining to feel like every entry I read from the blog hop adds another insecurity to my list.
I think you just have to write what you'd like to read.
Use Taylor Swift's system (I CANNOT believe I wrote that, but it's painfully accurate). She says that the more personal her songs, the more people embrace them. I figure there's gotta be some truth in that, no?
Write from your heart and eventually, you'll find your audience.
I'm like that. Tree sentences into a book and I usually can tell if it's for me or not. It scares me that there are people out there who'd be like me. But we gotta admit that's how it goes.
If you worry too much about that, you'll never finish a book. If I add that worry to my l¡pile, I'd probably finish my next book in 2058, give or take.
Good luck :)

Elise Fallson said...

Unfortunately, I am one of those readers that usually makes decisions about a book within a few seconds at the book store. Cover and blurb are the two elements I look at first. But honestly, I wish I could take the time in choosing my books. Part of the problem I think has to do with the way my life is running right now-at Mach 10. Time is my enemy and I always feel like I'm in a rush. I hope in a few years when the kids get a little older, I get a little older, that things will slow down because I know I'm missing out on a lot of wonderful books by being too hasty.

michelle said...

As readers, we have favourite genres.... and then cover pic, title, blurb are other factors that captivate us... or not!
I know that, in the past, I was guilty of sticking to my preferred genre. But since I hooked up with the writers in the online community, I'm keeping an open mind, and giving any good story a fair chance.
That being said, I do hear what you are saying...

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