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Mel's Procrastination Palace
Sunday, September 17, 2006 The SUCK FACTOR

I did my homework this weekend and read a book. (I've let my reading habit slide since I started writing and really need to get back into it.)
So, I was talking about the book to my friend, Jaci Burton.

Some writer friends and I have discussed that sometimes it's hard to get into a book we're reading for pleasure's sake, because we spend so much time reading and editing our own or CP's work. It's hard to turn off the internal editor.

Such was the fact with the book I'd picked up. There were several things that immediately stuck out at me, editorial-wise, that jarred me from the story. Things that probably wouldn't have affected the everyday reader, things that aren't necessarily wrong, but simply things I've been taught by CP's and/or contest judges and/or editors shouldn't be done.

Determined to get through my thirst for red ink, I pushed on, changing my focus from the little things to the bigger picture. Then I thought about what made it sell, what was it about the first three chapters that made the editor buy it?
It took me until page 55 to get to a point where I was NOT going to put the book down. After that point, I could give a flying f--- about typos or POV faux pas or self-description. The plot had sucked me in. (I'm guessing I got the answer to my question there, eh?)

The SUCK FACTOR..... if it doesn't suck you in--it sucks.
Short, sweet, simple.
Grammar can be perfect, spelling immaculate, editing pristine. Plot can be sound, characters perfect, but if it's not all put together in a way that makes you HAVE to know what happens next, and then next, and then next.... it'll make a book suck, not suck you in.

So, while reading a book that gained suction as I proceeded, I realized that all the little stuff I'd stressed over really doesn't matter. What it boils down to is STORY.

On a funny note, I told Jaci I should review books anonymously and assign them plungers or vacuum cleaners instead of stars, based on their "suck factor"....5 plungers= this plot is backed up worse than an outhouse in the middle of July, or 5 vaccuums= I was as helpless as a dustbunny facing a shopvac.

Posted by Melani Blazer :: 6:56 PM :: 7 comments

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