July 9, 2012
Anatomy of an eBook: Something Real
As I wind down the principal writing on Something Real, I've turned a very critical eye on what I've written to see if it passes the so-called "smell test." It does, but that's not to say it's perfect. As you may or may not know, this story covers two relationships, one of which is brought to fruition by the book's end, the other of which will be resolved at a later date in either a novella or novelette. The problem was with the completed romance. In its present state there isn't enough development in the two principals' relationship. Writers can't simply throw characters together and have them decide they want to spend the rest of their lives together just like that (snaps fingers). The readers want to (and need to) see them falling in love. Without it, a romance doesn't pass the "smell test." A romance without this factor feels incomplete and will leave readers asking, "Why?" They'll wonder what is pulling these two people together? Also--and this is the worst thing that can happen for an author--without being able to feel that special connection between the characters, they likely won't care how they end up. That means they might decide they don't want to keep reading.
Of course, every scene is supposed to contribute to the development of the story, even walking hand-in-hand along a river path (I know that movies frequently have "bridge scenes," a compilation of scenes, usually set to music, that show the hero and heroine having fun, playing, and loving each other, but in books the rule is show, don't tell). So if the hero and heroine are strolling along without a care in the world and conscious only of each other, something has to happen other than the isn't-it-wonderful-to-be-in-love vibe. Something in their conversation has to hint at future tension...or maybe their pleasant afternoon will be interrupted by an urgent phone call.
So I'm inserting scenes that permit the reader to see the growing attachment to the hero and heroine. Not filler, but lean meat. The result: A richer and fuller story.
How about you? Do you want to be able to witness the blossoming feelings the lead characters have for each other? How do you feel when you don't see this and the leads walk off into the sunset together toward their happily ever after? Have you ever put a book down because it didn't ring true?