Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thanks a Lot, FTHRW: Now I Cringe.

First I joined FTHRW. Then I got great advice about craft and improved my writing. But now I am doomed to cringe. And it often comes in threes.

Driving to work, I'm listening to a book on tape, and I hear the line:

Shouldn't there be a better way? he wondered.

Cringe number one. The writing has few problems with point of view (POV). But this is head hopping, and it's distracting.

Then I realize, it's not POV. It's actually dialog attribution:

"Shouldn't there be a better way?" he wondered.

Really bad dialog attribution. So say the experts. And I've come to agree, thanks to my craft-honing at FTHRW. Cringe number two, thank you very much.

The story goes on. But then, just when I am about to be carried away again, there comes insidious cringe number three.

This book I am listening to is a best-selling vampire YA story. (THE best selling) So, I realize, writing well is not a requirement for best-selling status. Neither is editing well, apparently. And these are the people who send me the rejection letters!

Cringe, cringe, cringe. Unavoidable occupational hazard, I guess. But I forgive you FTHRW. I am a better writer than I used to be.


Leigh D'Ansey said...

Oh, I cringe sometimes too! The other day I read my first ever submitted partial - typed up on an old portable typewriter - the mistakes!

Jennifer Faye said...

Hi, Quinn. You have a great point. The more I learn about writing, the more I want to know. As a result, a lot of times I'll find myself studying a book I'm reading for pleasure. Instead of just enjoying the story, I'll be looking to see how the author did this or that. *G*

Mona Risk said...

Hi Quinn, I often wonder too and cringe. What makes a bestselling author? Is it the story? the voice? the perfect technical writing? the following of rules? or the crazy inspiration.

I would say follow your heart. Write a story YOU love. Some people will love it and some will hate it.

Carolyn Hughey said...

I always wondered how a book reached the best selling status, especially when I didn't think the writing lived up to the title, so I looked it up and surprise, surprise, it has nothing to do with writing, voice, or story--it has to do with how many sales it made in the first two weeks. It's all in the advertising!

A writer whose book has reached a high level of sales generally as determined by regional and national newspapers and magazines. ...

Natasha Moore said...

I find it harder these days to lose myself in a story. I pick up the little things that probably don't matter to a reader, but we, as writers, notice as things we've been taught not to do. I think the best storytelling makes me forget all about technique and get lost in the story.

As for the ones that make us cringe - use it as incentive to write better than that!

jilljames said...

I love FTHRW too for all I've learned along the way. I don't necessarily need my book to be a best seller, just to sell the best it can.

Jodi Lynn Copeland said...

I also struggle with reading these days. I used to love reading. These days, I don't do all that much of it. Unless I can totally emerge myself in a story, I can't see past the author's writing style or tone and all those obvious craft "mistakes." I honestly miss the good old days before the rules were stuck in my head and I saw all the dumb typos.

Joanne said...

Hi Quinn,
I love to read, but have become a nitpicker since I've started to write. And I also love FTH, for teaching me to nitpick.

Quinn said...