As some people know while I’m waiting to hear back from my publisher about The Light Side of the Moon, I’ve been doing a series of writing experiments.
I’ve been rereading some of my favorite books from different authors to quantitate how much description, dialogue, action, etc there is, then looking at my own writing in ways I can improve.
Now the way this experiment works is, I read the book for fun, not looking for anything and then go back to analyze what works and what doesn’t.
I also reread in whole or in part
- Pride and Prejudice and Emma by Jane Austen
- Breed by Chaze Novak (which is fun because most of it is in present tense)
- The Hounds of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
- Homeland by RA Salvatore
A few weeks ago, one of my friends talked about how if you write for an audience, one gets readers in that audience and eventually can transcend that audience as more people read the book. People who follow my blog know that is not how I write, but I was willing to get more information on the topic. So then I looked at genre tropes.
So this is what I learned:
As a reader, if I don’t have an emotional connection with the characters, the author has failed me.
As an author, if I cannot build an emotional connections with the characters for the reader, I have failed the reader.
On to the quantitative:
I tend to be description light and dialogue heavy, but I’ve my own voice and even though it changed drastically between Other Systems and The Light Side of the Moon, it is MY style of writing. What is really interesting about this experiment is I tend to enjoy books that are description light and dialogue heavy with lots of surprises. Yes, I use either consciously or subconsciously genre tropes. (For example:I glossed over HOW Harden figured out the stabilization issue with FTL travel.)
I don’t care about romantic subplots. I like real romance of a faithful husband and wife team, (or husband/husband team, wife/wife team) rather than people so lost in lust that they forget their duty to everything else in life or worse the two people are in danger and are so wrapped up in being in lust with the other person, they ignore the danger. Is this why I have problems writing romantic subplots?
I admit when I nervously think of the fate of The Light Side of the Moon, I have two worries
1) The length. It’s pretty epic at 130,000 words
2) Is the romantic subplot what people like when they read romantic subplots? Especially because it isn’t two people who are wildly in love with each other from the first moment that they meet. Nor do they hate each other.
Now the question becomes: why I write that way? Did reading too much Stephen King as a kid, propel my writing in a specific direction? I don’t have an answer. I only have the data.