Saturday, January 25, 2014

I'll just sit here and let the story happen

I've never read a book that suffered from a more passive character than the one I'm currently in the middle of. I won't name names, because at this point, I don't have a lot of nice things to say.

My first novel suffered from this in places. It's an easy pit to fall into, just having your charming and interesting main character sit there while wild and crazy things happen all around them. You have so much to tell! You can't wait to show the reader everything about everyone, and don't worry, we'll get to the actual story in good time. Just bear with me, indulge me, won't you? It will all be worth it in the end.

Ah, yes, I've been there.

When I read 'wait, I'll tell you about that later' and 'but I'm getting ahead of myself' for the tenth time, I knew I was in for a rocky read. But I'm sticking with it. Why? The main character is interesting and I'm hoping the promise of a great plotline pans out.

So far, we've spent the first third of the book getting to know all about the main character's childhood and launching into the big thing that I'd hoped would get the pace really cracking. However, instead, we've wandered off into the full backstory's of several other characters. Don't get me wrong, they're well told and interesting, but it's not furthering the plot. In fact, that's at a complete stand still.

The main character has all the promise of wowing me, but they seem content to react to others, going with the flow, and never acting themselves. Thankfully there are other characters to propel the plot forward (when we're not busy learning all about their past). But what I really want to see is this character moving forward of their own accord. Less learning about everyone and everything and more doing.

I find myself wanting to haul out my red pen and make notes. Lots of notes. But the damage is done, it's already published. I'm just hoping that, by the end, I'll see the awesome that grabbed someone's attention and made them want to publish this particular book.

Excuse me now, while I put my optimism back in it's box.


  1. Hmmm...maybe they should have called it "literary" rather than whichever plot-driven genre it's selling as.

    I often read published books these days, with my critiquers voice nagging away in the background, and wondering how did this ever get published?

  2. Sadly, it's not intended to be literary. It's definitely spec fic.

    Maybe I've just been lucky with the books I've been reading lately and my crit voice has been waiting patiently for the chance to spring out and nag away. :)

  3. Wow, I too am surprised by the genre. I was going to guess fantasy since there is always so much backstory and it can tend to be slow at times. We, as writers, can learn so much from other's works. I find that even if the book is not as entertaining as I'd hoped, I can still learn something from it.

    I hope the story you're reading turns around though. :)


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