Follow these simple steps to Crash & Burn.
Asleep at the Wheel. Start your novel with loads of information, precise and intricate. Spare no words to get your backstory laid out. I’ll turn to the back of my tissue box for something better to read.
Yapping. Dialogue that spins into boredom. I call it, ‘Hi-how-are-you-I’m-fine’, inane conversation between characters that gives no information. Reading ‘where do you want to eat?’ ‘I don’t care. Where do you want to eat?’ makes me want to open a vein.
An abundance of names. Too many titles, characters, unfamiliar or techno names cause me to skip ahead to something ANYTHING interesting. Don’t make me work too hard. Introduce these people and definitions sloooowly. Remember, I don’t know them. You do. Big difference.
Slow build to Action. How is too little conflict in a book like a baseball hit over the fence? Answer: I’m outta here. Those first pages are a fine balance between simple nouns and verbs, sparing use of adjectives and adverbs, and lots of conflict. Whether verbal or physical, there should be conflict on every page.
Abrupt World-Building. To commit Manuscript Mayhem, carry me from Auntie Em’s front yard to Technicolor Oz without transition or bridge. Every fantastical event needs a whiff of the unusual so the brain can adjust. Hence, the tornado and dream sequence. And the witch flying through the air. Always scared hell outta me as a kid.
The Kryptonite Factor. Phenomenal cosmic powers without the itty bitty living space (Genie – Aladdin) kills a MS. One word: Conflict. An all-powerful hero who has no faults or weaknesses equals blah. Epic Fail.
Got a bone to pick? Nails-across-a-blackboard sentence structure that causes wandering eye?