I’m an avid reader. Crazy avid reader. When I was young, my Mom showed me the value and joy of reading and I’ve been doing it ever since. I used to read the print on the boxes of cereal (what 7 year old should know about all the junk in cereal?) But I did. And that love has taken me on journeys through countries never visited, mystic countries only real in my mind, given me conversations with the most interesting characters. I’ve heard beautiful music and seen exquisite art. When I read I have a small movie paying in my mind as words unfold on the pages before me.
Which brings me to the writers of all of these wonderful journeys. As a reader I want to thank you for helping my brain grow and letting my imagination soar. However. Don’t you hate that word? However, while I support writers and authors of all genres, part of your responsibility to me, the reader, IMHO, is to make my trip the most entertaining it can possibly be. There are “speed bumps” along the way that detract from the journey. Not your problem you say? Yes, it is. I am your customer. There is a certain standard by which you are judged by your customer. So here at some thoughts about those speed bumps.
Please remember that if you introduce a character, regardless of how insignificant YOU think he/she is, I will remember that character. I may go back pages to remind myself about that character. If you drop him/her like a lead weight and never mention them again, I am likely to think you’re in the early stages of dementia. After all, shouldn’t the writer always remember who they write about?
If you switch your dialogue from past to present and do not explain WHY you are doing that, chances are I will lose some of the richness of your story. You don’t care? I won’t either and it is likely that I will not buy your books again. Consistency has its place in a storyline and since we readers want that consistency, please be kind to us.
And the now, the speed bump of all speed bumps. PUNCTUATION. Lordy lordy, some of you writers have never been introduced to punctuation and some of you love it so much that you use it everywhere. Do you realize that you change the nuance of dialogue by placement/non-placement of your commas, periods, colons and question marks and those other little delightful “road signs”? I want to read your story knowing exactly what you meant to write. It’s not a rap song, unless you meant it to be a rap song and I’m unlikely going to purchase a rap song in book form. Please – read out loud what you wrote. Does it make sense to you with the punctuation or lack thereof?
Thank you, dear writers, for giving me a joy and passion that cannot be duplicated. We readers want to be invested in your stories as much as you were when you wrote them. Perhaps these little tips might make our mutual trips ever the more pleasurable. I look forward to the next journey!
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