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Monday, December 26, 2011

Prose That Compels

On deck this last week of 2011:
Submit your query to unicornbellsubmissions@gmail.com

Just send the meat, the three paragraphs that entice agents to ask for more pages.

Reminder. December’s prize goes to the follower who 1) submits at least once and
 2) comments.

Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly goes to the one who contributes the most.

Ya got this week to get ‘em in, at least one submission and all the comments you can muster. Winner to be announced next week.

Prose That Compels. I started reading a new book. But several chapters into it, I just couldn’t go on. It was awful.

It had good reviews. The storyline was great. Very intriguing. But something made me quit and set it aside. Why?

To discover the reason, I took samples from that book and a similar passage in a novel I enjoy, A Painted House by John Grisham. Both novels are in first person. I chose sections that contained internal dialogue and backstory.

What I found was this. The MCs began the same, second-guessing the motives of secondary characters. But Mr. Grisham stopped after the first sentence.

The book I didn’t care for continued the internal angst for the entire paragraph. ‘Who did he think he was…Why did my plan fall apart…I’m leaving as soon as I can ditch him.’

The constant internal monologue bordered on whining. I tired of it quickly and my eye skipped ahead.

In the excerpt from A Painted House, the protag worries about his Pappy. But that went straight into what might happen if his grandpa then confronted the thug and a resolution.

It had tension, action and I wanted to find out how it ended.

Tension is the key. Use conflict to pull the reader into your world and keep them there. Every page of your manuscript needs tension, in dialogue or in narrative.

Remember, this week it is Queries.

3 comments:

Michael Offutt, Supra-Genius said...

Is that the same Bill O'Reilly of Fox News? If so...I'll pass. That guy is a tool.

Huntress said...

eh, a 'tool' and many other things also. But as a writer, I don't discriminate.

It is a historical novel written in thriller form about the last weeks of Lincoln’s life.

Absolutely fascinating.

mshatch said...

It has gotten excellent reviews. I just got it on tape and can't wait to listen.