Midweek #ROW80 Check-In

Well, I just had my very first irate email from a reader about a choice I made in one of my books where, apparently, I “got it all wrong.”   This is always kind of a personal fear of mine as a writer–I often get virtually crippled by this desire to get everything “right” (though, normally, this is related to procedural stuff rather than location).   But I guess there’s a component of it with location, too.  If I choose to set a book somewhere, I try to choose somewhere I’ve either been before or that’s easily researchable.  In this particular case, this was a more or less throwaway location that fit the parameters I asked about when I polled on Twitter.   And this reader interpreted the shero’s behavior in that location as completely unbelievable and more reflective of the location than the shero herself.  Newsflash y’all: If a character behaves weird in the first couple of chapters, chances are we’ll explain why later on in the book.  Anyway, polite response sent off and I’m moving on with my day.

The writing is going pretty well.  I’ve just spent the last week making some more changes to the first half of Act 2 to fix some pacing issues.  Act 2 seems to always been my kryptonite.  It’s the area I inevitably have to rework in later drafts.  With this book, I seem to be (hopefully) getting all that reworking done in the first draft.  I should be hitting my midpoint sometime next week, and after that, I really hope to be building some of that flying toward the end momentum.  Gonna need to pick up the pace if I’m to finish by the end of this round!

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5 comments

  1. I had a reader email me about the cat in Haunted Lake. Apparently, I didn’t tell enough about what happened to it later. The cat was around a little, but it wasn’t important. We have to cover SO many bases to try to satisfy everyone. We do the best we can. Someone won’t be happy. Good for you for moving on and not worrying about it.

  2. Wouldn’t that be “Newsflash ALL y’all?” 😉 I’ve learned the hard way never to choose locations that I know absolutely nothing about. More power to you if you can pull it off.

    1. Touche, my good man. I actually have pulled it off fine in the past. The sections of Forsaken and Devil’s Eye set in New Orleans came off really well and it was before I’d ever been there.

      This particular complaint was about a section that was, more or less, a generic bad neighborhood (which more than one person who lives in that particular city told me they wouldn’t want to walk through by themselves at night)…and I think this reader interpreted the shero as asking for that kind of treatment with her behavior…or something. And there were actually reasons for the shero’s behavior that had NOTHING to do with the neighborhood, but, those weren’t revealed until much later in the book, which she didn’t finish. :shrug: Can’t please everybody.

  3. Well, dang. I guess the silver lining is that it still counts as fan mail? *looks up at the sky and hopes a horde of angry readers doesn’t descend*

    I worry about portraying cities I know well and not coming off as knowledgeable. 🙂

    1. I think all writers do. And when it comes down to getting details right when it really MATTERS, I absolutely put in the work. For throw away scenes…not so much.

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