blog post #63 by Science Fiction Author Clara Bush
To a writer, positive reviews from readers are like receiving a million dollars tax free.
Yes, I exaggerate. Still it means a ton.
Much to my surprise, when I went to the Amazon website—you know the one where my books are listed—my novella, Wyso and the Other Creepy Kids on Gerard Street, had two new reviews.
Currently, I am revising, re-formating Wyso, and I have hired yet another professional editor to put a third pair of eyes on the mechanics of my novella. While I was revising, I found a number of things I could do better.
Writing is all about studying the craft and improving. Lessons I learn, the books I read, and the research I do daily offer a constant flow of information on how to become a better writer. This has become my ultimate goal.
The opening sentence to one of my new reviews reads: Very well written book! (Thank you, Patrick. You are my new best friend, even if you didn’t want one.)
Patrick’s remark made me start to question: What does the average reader consider a well written book?
My summer nightmare of disinterested editors and conflicting editing jobs made me realize that there are any number of ways one might edit a manuscript.
As a writer, you follow the rules you are told are the RIGHT rules to follow. I have a checklist of the most common mistakes editors mark and yet in the two current books I am reading—one is a bestseller by a famous author and one is by an up and coming self-published author—both do many of the things we are told not to do.
So What Makes A Well-Written Book?
- Am I hooked? And on page did I become hooked?
- Is the main character someone I want to know more about?
- What did the author do to make me want to know more about the main character?
- How does the author infiltrate his minor characters?
- Is there a clear POV (point of view) or does the author resort to head popping to tell his/her story?
- Is the dialogue believable? Interesting? Or is it flat and relies on numerous adverb (ly words) to convey what the dialogue should be conveying?
- What is the underlining conflict of the story? Are there minor conflicts integrated that keep you interested? What are they?
One of the main criticisms I hear pertaining to self-published works is how poorly written they are?
And An Indication Of Not Well-Written
Examples Of Turn-Offs
And after struggling through it—which I did because the language was indeed beautiful—the ending was bad. I really couldn’t tell you what happened to the main character I had cried with and laughed with over 400 plus pages. Well-written? Really? A bunch of people thought so. Bestseller and all.
Men allowed their eyes to drift from hers and fall along the curves of her petite frame. Her breasts tipped upward to the sky, her waist pinched inward, and her hips, just enough, balanced and completed the image that roused their curiosity to find out what lie beneath her clothing. Was the hidden skin as perfect as the skin on her face? They wondered. But then they returned to her eyes and a chill shouted, You will never know.
1. A Wyso/Danny ring handcrafted by my Native American friend, Neal Paquin of Santa Fe, NM, especially designed for my first novella, Wyso and the Other Creepy Kids on Gerard Street. (Picture to be posted some time. I need an attractive finger. Eddie, my cat, won’t cooperate. Neither will Cassidy, Sunny, Stella, or Apple (the last two are dogs). And I’m not much on selfies, especially, a selfie of one of my fingers.
2. A $20 gift certificate to Amazon via email.
3. My opinion of the first twenty pages of your novel or novella. (Not that my opinion is worth anything, but it is someone else’s opinion. Something I look for every chance I get. Just thought you might be looking also.)
The Science Fiction Reality blog is a little science, a little fiction, a little about writing, a little real, and a lot of weird.