Another review, another lesson learned

Meet Sarah Wathen
July 5, 2015
Do You Believe In Legend?
July 22, 2015

Another review is up on Goodreads. That makes two on Goodreads and three on Amazon with only one duplicated between them.  In the latest review, it was hard for the reviewer to stay focused on the book because there is so much that is going on. And she’s right, there is. I crammed a lot into Spirit. Maybe too much. It got me thinking (and almost panicking) both last night and this morning, what if I’ve done the same thing with the rest of the series? Do I need to go back and chop things apart so they are more digestible?

Well, after taking a deep breath and putting the virtual ax down, I decided that I just have to be careful. This means watching to make sure I don’t cover too much in one breath or stuff that has already been mentioned before unless it’s bringing readers up to speed. I’m definitely going to have to look and see when a book needs to be split. I have a feeling I’ll be writing at least seventeen, instead of fourteen, core books, because of this new way of thinking.

I’m a throwback to when writing was more about the characters and substance.  There’s a study on people who read fiction that favors my approach. It said that people who read fiction tend to be more aware of others’ emotions. It also mentioned that those who read literary fiction tended to score higher than those who read pop.  Why? Because they had more work to do to flesh out the characters and understand their feelings and motives. Much like real life.

It’s important to me that my series transport the reader into a universe that is believable with characters that can exist in real life. As my statement book and the foundation for the rest of the series, I wanted to make sure that Spirit laid out the basics in a very solid way.  I took the time to cover my ass when I said something that was counterintuitive. This care led to some of the details. The rest came from making sure readers understood how things worked. In that respect, maybe I went a little too far.

I’m already planning on revisiting a few things mentioned in Spirit in a couple of the future books to clear things up. Legend, the current one I’m working on, has an inherent complexity problem because events happen in two centuries. Last night, I thought about chopping out one century, but realized it would take away a good part of the story. Maybe instead of five sections, I’ll only do three. Not sure yet. Lone Horse Incident, another future book which covers the core of the paradox that drives the series, is going to be complex as well. At least by the time I reach that one, I’ll have covered a lot of events mentioned in it, so maybe they can remain only mentions while I concentrate on tying up the loose ends.

Writing is a learning process that an author goes through until they finish their work. In the same respect, though, they have to balance the knowledge gained with the vision they have, so they can remain true to themselves and their stories while improving their craft. For me that means if I have to throw an extra detail in, then so be it. Now, I’ll just remember to ask myself “Do I need this here?” and “How much detail is better covered by dialogue and action?” before I do.

Whatever happens, I promise to keep the characters rich and the stories interesting.

1 Comment

  1. Personally, I enjoyed the details.

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