Dogbert: Preaching to the choir.
Anytime a person prefaces a statement with “now don’t get me wrong but …” you can bet someone already has the match struck to set off the fireworks. And more often than not, the person making the statement is the one holding the match.
Since many who read my articles are writers I’m sure what I am about to say will come across like preaching to the choir. However, from my experience, a lot of people in the choir need to listen up. I mean, have you ever watched a church service on TV and noticed how many in full view of the world were fighting naps and fidgeting around like six year olds?
With that long-winded preface out of the way let’s get down to business.
NOW DON’T GET ME WRONG BUT … most informer types are a bit full of themselves. Before you think I’m just talking about writers, far from it. Informer types are everywhere and populate every vocation of life. These are the people who not only think carefully about a lot of things but for some reason feel compelled to share those thoughts with others.
Over the past four years I have immersed myself in the community or writers. During that time I have learned much and am deeply thankful to more seasoned writers that have taken me under their wing. I have also observed the informer types at work. They are the ones who are sure they know how everything should be done and are quick to tell you that your way is the wrong way. They draw lines in the sand and invite people to choose sides over issues like Christian vs. secular fiction, romance vs. suspense, and the list goes on. Most of these informer types are people deeply dedicated to their craft and have the best of intentions. At least I hope so because all too often I have been one of them.
So where am I going with all of this? I’m glad you asked.
Writers, especially the informer types, also write and converse a lot about how books should be written. For the sake of this conversation let’s pretend every writer in the world is listening in and has been gagged so they can’t interrupt with some piece of opinionated information. Should you be a writer, you can only answer the following questions if you take an oath to put that part of your brain on hold for a few seconds. So here goes …
Why do you read what you read? What makes a book good to you? If I asked you to critique the last novel you read (not as a writer but as a reader) what comments would you make about it?
My guess is most readers will answer these questions without a mention of point of view, choice of tenses, hero’s journeys, or scene placement. Sure all of those things are important but when handled well become invisible with the story taking center stage.
We’ll see what other have to say but I have a suspicion their answers will be some version of, “I read what I read because it’s what I like to read.” For now, I’ll try to put that Informer part of my brain on hold and see how you the reader inform me.