Warning: This gets ranty. But since this blog is about ranting…
Also, shout out to my writing buddy T-Rex who prompted this post. How he puts up with my rants, I’ll never know.
As I mentioned in First Chapters Are the Worst, I’ve found more and more books go against what I’ve learned as a writer. Two of the books mentioned in that post were self-published (the two with the shorter lists) while two were traditionally published. All highly successful.
With the help of my CPs, I’ve honed my skills, taken the time to become what I thought was a good writer so that I could find an agent who’ll give me the best chance at becoming an author. I could self-publish, and I will if I get rejected by all the agents I’ve queried (It’s ben almost 5 weeks). But I want a good agent who can get me a great publisher, who knows the market, and can sell my book better than I could on my own.
In theory, with the right marketing, anyone can sell a book. I follow a few successful self-published authors. And if you have just enough good elements to catch those hungry readers, then your success will only grow. As I said in my post on first chapters, success isn’t just down to us as writers. It’s down to agents, editors, publishers, and readers.
Many of the CPs I interact with warn against too much world-building, uninteresting protagonists, and character overload. But I’ve read so many bestselling books that go against this advice along with more specific prose issues. I skimmed some of my favourites from recent years and was surprised at the “writing donts” in them that I didn’t notice before. I was pretty shocked to see so many 5-star ratings and praising reviews compared to the low percentage of those who I agreed with in my new mindset.
One in particular was riddled with issues. The world-building was overdone by far, like multiple paragraphs of “what the fuck is this?.” As for the romance… It barely registered when it actually mattered. I mean, the protag slips into bed (sleeping only) with her “off-limits” bow,, who’s she’s kissed like twice. Like, lady, this guy risked a ton for you, is totally into you, and you deny both your feelings. Again, what the fuck?
I don’t mind when couples dance around one another for a reasonable length of time before things get physical. Or when things genuinely keep getting in their way. But when couples share feelings, have opportunities to be together, even if just for a fleeting moment, and don’t properly act in it until like book 4, that’s when I get annoyed.
As for world-building… 🤬 It bugs me when my CPs tell me certain things are vague from what I’ve shown, because I REALLY like to show what I can and save the “telling” for emergencies. So I drop a short and sweet two or three-line explanation (selective telling) to clarify, and the next CPs deem it an info dump. THREE LINES??? And this is another confusing issue since my recent reading involves so many heavy info dumps from bestsellers. What is a girl to do?
New thought. I need to find a better balance for my work based on the books in my genre, especially those whose readers are my potential readers. Knowing the market is half the battle, and I realise I got my market a little off. That’s not to say I’m going to rewrite all my books to emulate these authors. I like my voice and how I can vary it for my different writing projects. That’s another thing that leaves me bored with authors is when all their narration sounds the same, even in different series.
Adapting is not the same as sacrificing. We all adapt as we learn and grow, or we get stuck in our ways, leading us nowhere. I choose to adapt.