But, like so many others, I was caught up in the Twilight series, which made me search out other authors known for their series fiction.
Unfortunately, the stories began to feel all too familiar. I described one series to my friend as the same story continually repeated, except the hero/heroine had different color hair. In some of the other stories, I found myself skimming. Can you believe it. Skimming. (I admit skimming a time or two in high school, but I swear...that was the only time or two.) Until now. Not even the sex scenes kept me interested. I found myself skimming through all of the description searching for dialogue (who knows what I missed.)
All of this reminded me of something said by Elmore Leonard (an excerpt is pasted below.)
8 Avoid detailed descriptions of characters, which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants", what do the "American and the girl with him" look like? "She had taken off her hat and put it on the table." That's the only reference to a physical description in the story.
9 Don't go into great detail describing places and things, unless you're Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don't want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.
10 Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them.
Because we are writers, do we sometimes get a little carried away with description, world building, or backstory that we bore readers?
When I critique someone's story, one area that always jumps out at me is pacing. A writer's use of sentence structure, word choice, paragraph structure, etc. all of it goes into their pacing. If I find myself losing where I was in the story, forgetting what I read, not knowing if I'm in a flashback or not...I always wonder if it's me (and the type of story I like to read), or if it's the story.
Be honest, do you ever skim?