The non-verbal contract (Did you know as an author you are committing to such?)
Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Writers what is your responsibility to your reader when you sit down to pen an epic tale? Do you feel you have one? I hope so, because we, your readers, are the individuals who will praise your name to fame or never buy your work again. A big deal – yes?
I say – don’t rip me off!
You have asked me to purchase your lovely novel, and I have. By either being pulled in by what you have promised on your jacket cover and or equally stimulating cover art. You have grabbed my attention. Check box one complete.
You introduce me to characters, the setting and a base story line. I do though, however, need enough information to develop images. I need a starting foundation of what you want me to see. If you can’t show me, by god, tell me then. I’m not that discerning. But do keep in mind; it would be nice to have a general idea of what your protagonists look like before I know how they smell. I could compromise, I suppose, with a bit of both. Creative, great, but let’s not lose me before I can even become invested. I am reading. Check box two-checked off.
I’m falling in love; you have snagged me, but don’t make me wait too long. Dangle the carrot; keep me reading each word, because if not, I will jump forward and then I might just get upset. The last thing you want me to do is put this book down. I would imagine I might be a bit haughty, but you asked me to read your work or why else would you write it?
I would also inquire, my dearest author friend; that you not get too carried away with your fancy literary warble, it may bolster your ego, but I promise, I glaze and skip over. I am looking to be entertained, not schooled or made to feel less. Personally, I do not read the majority of these lengthy passages which have a droning tendency to carry on and this massive word jumble of prolific purple prose ends up on my editing floor. It is irrelevant how many hours you spent drafting, editing and creating.
Check box three – partial check.
I have braved the wild winds; crested your mighty peaks, braved your barren valleys, held on even when I wanted to leap over several chapters in a single bound, of your hard earned word count, to find the answers I wanted to know. We are nearing the end of your novel, getting closer to the all important last chapter. The grand finale. And…I’m waiting…a paragraph left…you could still pull it off…it might happen and then – nothing.
Boo! Let down! Agony! Discontent swarms your reader, me, who wasted the better part of my day, night or several weeks in committed, dedicated attention.
In the attempt of being witty you have left your reader dangling. Naked and alone. I regret to inform you that in this choice of open-ended, gaping-holed, magical finish your reader has been duped. Let down. You did not meet the terms of the contract. And in response, I/your reader, most likely, will never purchase you again. To make matters even worse, I could leave a bad review. As a partner in this budding relationship, I needed a satisfying conclusion or I should have walked away at hello.
Check box four-blank
For the love of writing – ❤ Jessica
PS-Every work you complete should be able to STAND Alone…it may be the only chance we get. Write On!