Don’t fear reading the unfinished overarching story
The story you’re considering reading may not end with the current book. Is that reason not to start it?
Not if the JOURNEY is as good as the DESTINATION.
Dorothy L. Sayers is my mentor here. In Strong Poison, her jaded detective, Lord Peter Wimsey falls hard for the woman in the dock at the Old Bailey, Harriet Vane, accused of poisoning her lover.
It took THREE more novels, with TWO irrelevant ones mixed in, before Peter and Harriet finally find peace in each other.
Were readers more patient back then?
I think they had fewer options.
They re-read old favorites, read books aloud to each other, lined up as we do to buy the latest book from a favorite author the minute it was available.
And read serialized stories on broadsheets, sometimes literally pasted to a wall.
They also probably read in smaller chunks – work early the next day would have kept some readers from letting the new story pull them in way past their bedtimes.
Mostly, though, fewer options: no libraries for everyone, no TV, no movies yet, and no streaming anything.
How was it for the writers back ‘then’?
Especially the many writers who were slow, like me?
Being able to write is a gift. One which has to be developed, of course, and that stops most people from starting such a foolish project.
But I think I may be like those writers – much slower at producing new stories and getting them through the process than we moderns in general. Who can write a novel, upload it from their computer to Amazon directly, do their own cover and everything else, and have it ready for market in an astoundingly short time.
You write from what you are
No one really cares – and shouldn’t – how long it takes to produce a book they like. Once the book is published, that’s irrelevant: it didn’t exist, and now it does.
Just watched adorable Sandra Bullock (and some guy) in a movie called The Lost City, in which she plays a Romance writer getting a little tired of the rat race and the book tours and the hamminess of her costar (the one who comes to her presentations, if beloved by the fans, and breaks every woman’s heart in the room). To the annoyance of our Romance writer trying to make sure she can get the purple-sequinned jumpsuit back to the rental company unharmed.
If life is like that for your average Romance writer, I’m in the wrong category. Darn.
Hollywood has a certain fascination with writers
And a certain hilarious take (ask any of us) on what it is like to actually go through the process of writing and publishing one. From the amount of time spent completely on interior work, to the state of our bodies while we’re writing (to support, however we can, keeping that body writing little black marks on a page) and after, to the whole process of how we may get paid – you have to watch movies with your screens down and no filters because IF you write, the movie version is a huge joke.
Mainly because it take forever to do it right, and a movie only has a couple of hours running time, and less than that attention span of its viewers.
To keep up MY end of the arrangement, I have a certain fascination with movies, actors, scripts, and all their processes (I watched Ron Howard and the filming of a bit of A Beautiful Mind on the Princeton U. campus, and my writing partner and I and our youngest auditioned for it) and have used a lot of what I learned in the Pride’s Children trilogy.
What keeps writers writing?
Sales are nice but somewhat remote.
Admiration by friends and family is often a pipe dream – though they may consent to accepting a free copy. They know you too well as an actual human, like them, and they couldn’t spend weeks or months or years working on the same story, so there’s something vaguely illicit about you doing it.
I’ll tell you: REVIEWS.
Reviews are tangible. You can (and should – they may disappear) make a copy in a safe place, because you’re going to do a little retrospective when the writing isn’t going as well as you would like (the roof has a leak, there’s a pandemic, kids need help with science projects, the dog ate…).
When you go re-read your stored reviews, you will find that the readers who like what you write, and were able to take the time and chose to write a few wonderful sentences of appreciation have a huge capacity to remind you that all is well in your writing world. The value of the good ones perdures and doesn’t fade with time or reflection.
They save your bacon when you wonder if the whole gig is worth the agony.
Review writers – whether they create fiction or not – are tinged with gold dust when your words touch them, and they respond by writing words that will touch you back.
I will post the reviews – reviews are mainly for other readers – as they come out, and maybe a reviewer will sound so much like the potential reader that the barrier to reading is minimized and the new reader MUST have the recommended book.
All you have to do to become a writer (which includes reviews) is to sit at a writing place and open a vein (i.e., tell the writer what you liked and maybe a bit of why). It’s far more public than reading – and a gift to the shyer readers who are wondering whether to read this writer’s book.
Amazon removed the ability to comment on reviews (too many heated arguments? trolls?), so reviewers don’t have to worry about that side of writing. A reader can either click Helpful – or not click it on a review, and that’s the extent of the interaction with other readers. But your personal take on a book may be the one which helps another reader make that decision.
If you write a few words from your heart, I will read them and use that as fuel – for the third book in the trilogy/the end of the story. It may help make this final book faster!
So far readers have left six 5* reviews or ratings. Phew! I was a bit worried about what they would think of NETHERWORLD‘s last several chapters (and don’t peek – they won’t necessarily make the best sense if you skip). And let me know what YOU think.
My gratitude to Stencil for the ability to create graphics with text.
Another quick request: if there’s anything this site needs to make your enjoyment of the books better, let me know.