Monday, June 12, 2017

Please Make Me Want to Read Your Book



Please make me want to read your book. I really want to read it, but you have to help me out.

This may seem odd, but last month I started three books; I was only able to finish two. In one, the opening two sentences had three grammatical errors. Seriously. In the next one, the Kindle formatting was bad


I


had            trouble following

the







               story.

I finally found a book I could read and enjoy, so thank you for the fine editing, the good formatting and the satisfying read, Ms. Professional Author.







#IWSG Book Club selection this month is The Secret Garden. We're reading it to have a discussion about characterization. There are several reasons not to finish this book. One is the omniscient point of view. The author takes you into everyone's head, including some small animals, without so much as a scene change. Then there's the heavy use of respelling to create the Yorkshire dialect. That's hard to follow, especially when there are long chunks of one person speaking. It's filled with tropes such as the wise and gentle peasant in the bucolic cottage, the orphaned girl, the invalid restored to health by nature, the grieving uncle off to find solace in other places. Most of the story is written in what today's critics call Telling. The author simply tells you how the characters feel, she doesn't bother to reveal those feelings by Showing the character in action.

However, it still holds up as a great story.  First, I responded to the story as a period piece, and then before I knew it, I was caught up and wanted to follow the MC's journey to the end. It didn't matter that I was head-hopping or that I was being told how the characters felt. I was in the hands of a storyteller and enjoying the time in her tale. 

If you haven't joined us, I hope you will. The discussions are interesting. 


Join Us



Clare Dugmore and Kyra Lennon
Enter and tell about those small things that make you smile!

Here are mine: The view from the top of any mountain. Hills, too. The morning. A good friend who stops by. An excellent book. My family.



Quote of the Week: "Books are uniquely portable magic." Stephen King

82 comments:

  1. Hopefully I do!
    The IWSG Goodreads club is rocking.

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  2. I'm currently rereading (after many, many years) The Secret Garden. We must always take into account when a book was written and review it from that perspective. I'm loving the dialect, even if it is a bit cumbersome at times. I'm loving the description which puts me right into the moors, the gardens, the gloomy 100 room house. I'm loving the hint of magic, the connectedness that exists between human and nature.

    Are there things one would consider politically incorrect in this day and age? Yes. But don't those attitudes also clearly show how people lived and thought back then? Yes. It's the way things were.

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    1. Absolutely. We have to take a piece of writing in the context of its time. I did love the description in the book. It was magnificent.

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  3. With all the books DLP publishes, typos and bad formatting are always fears.

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    1. I can imagine how you must have to go through a manuscript so many times before sending out.

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  4. I always check out the 'look inside' feature on Amazon before buying a book. It does help weed out some of the most unreadable ones.

    I reread The Secret Garden a while ago and enjoyed it. Oddly I don't recall the headhopping and animal POVs. I'd expect to as I'm not generally keen on that sort of thing. I'm going to have to take another look now!

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    1. Interesting that we all come to a book with different results!

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  5. I also started to two books that I didn't finish this past week. One head-hopped from sentence to sentence and the other bored me for six pages and I gave up.

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    1. It takes skill to pull that POV off. I wouldn't try it because I do not have that skill.

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  6. that is why I usually stick to old books, I try to dig out books published in the 70's, 50's, pre war ones etc because not only that just good writers got published then but the quality of print was better too.
    As a translator I tend to get irritated by bad translations after just a few pages and cannot finish the damn thing.

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    1. But, DEZ, there are so many lovely new books. The ones I mentioned are only two out of thousands that are excellent.

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  7. I hate when that happens. Looking and hoping for a great read and then disappointed. Its like having to drink flat soda.
    ' Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  8. I have to admit that I panicked when you said there are several reasons not to finish reading The Secret Garden, because it's our book club selection and we want people to read it. LOL!!! But...again...I admit to thinking those same things as I read it. :P

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    1. I hoped people would read the entire message and understand that I enjoyed the book.

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  9. Ohh, the view from a mountain is always an amazing thing! Thanks for taking part in the hop!

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  10. Great reminder, Lee. Uploading to Kindle isn't difficult, but it takes time. That rendering stuff seems to pick up commands I didn't add to Word. I end up saving as text only (no formatting), and then reformatting it before uploading. RTF was suggested, but that wasn't good enough. Anyway, the end result is a clean copy so I'm happy.

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    1. I discovered that RTF has formatting as well, so text is absolutely the best.

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  11. It is years (and years) since I read The Secret Garden. I wasn't very fond of it at the time (and can't remember why). A reread is perhaps in order - except that I have so many books I WANT to read.

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    1. Interesting that you weren't fond of it. I can't remember my reaction the first time I read it. Actually, I'm pleased I read it again.

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  12. I'm with you on a good book making us smile. And I love that King quote. :)

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    1. Books beat out TV by miles in the smile and the magic departments.

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  13. I loved The Secret Garden as a kid, but am not sure if I can now for the reasons you mention. Plus the slower pace of the story. I got it from the library. We'll see if I can get into it.

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    1. I think it's worth the re-read. This is my second time through it and I enjoyed the journey again.

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  14. The Secret Garden was a real favourite of mine when I was young. Part of me wants to read it again, but I’m afraid it might spoil the memories.

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    1. It might, but it also might give you a different insight into the story. I always wonder about that.

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  15. I know what you mean about those badly formatted or edited books. Sometimes it's impossible to get anywhere with them, it doesn't matter how good the story might be.

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    1. And what a shame that is. I wanted to call them up and say, "Hey, fix this so I can read your book."

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  16. Yikes! I think coming across grammatical errors that early in a book would definitely throw me off.

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    1. I think that I chose to stop reading because I didn't feel as if the writer had invested as much time in the editing as they expected me to invest in reading their story.

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  17. I love the picture of the kitty, of course. I'm so embarrassed for the author when mistakes like that are found. It can ruin a good story.
    I'm reading The Secret Garden now. Noticed the things you mentioned, but still fascinated to find out what happens next.

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    1. So I guess the point is if you can tell a good story it will last for one heck of a long time.

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  19. I hate omniscient. I'm reading a series now written in it. It took me halfway through the first book before I forgot about the style and got into the story.

    I've started putting my manuscript into my Kindle to check the formatting before I pull the plug.

    Doesn't thinking about readers finding typos or grammatical errors in your story make you shudder? It sure does me.

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    1. Yes. I do shudder. And I've made mistakes. I'm only human, but when there are so many mistakes, and they prevent me from enjoying a story, I hate it.

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  20. I haven't started rereading The Secret Garden yet for the IWSG Book Club, but it's third down the line on my list. I've been on a great string of books lately, reading authors I know in real life or through the blogging world (real people, though I've never met them in person). I'm aiming for one writing/editing help book and one fiction book at a time before moving on. My next fiction book has something to do with math, I think . . . Two Negatives Make a Positive or some such thing by a person named McKenzie. I'll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, It was the best of sentences, it was the worse of sentences is my daily non-fiction so I can learn myself how's to write more better.

    Things that make me smile: my hubby and kids, crazy kitten siblings in our household, fun coworkers, and making music.

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    1. :-) You're going to find so many grammar errors in my book, but I assure you each one is carefully calculated.

      I love your smile motivators!

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  21. Wonderful smiles!!!
    I have read The Secret Garden in the past several times - as a child, a teen, and a younger adult, but I'm having a hard time picking it up this time. Dickon makes the story sing for me.

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    1. He's very special. I think he deserves a book of his own.

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  22. Great list of smiles. All of them make me smile too. There's been a couple of books recently I couldn't finish because of the bad grammar and editing too.

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  23. I always get paranoid about formatting when I'm getting books ready for publishing. So far, I haven't had too many problems. I better go find some wood to knock on.

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    1. It's a chore. I've done a couple and I'm never doing it again.

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  24. I did like the book but..get ready....I loved the movie! It is rare when I find the movie better than the book but I did in this case, besides Maggie Smith as the head housekeeper is always wonderful. Love your smiles and mine is the smile my hubby has, my animals including the fun animal videos and my friends

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    1. I'm so glad you told me this. I haven't seen the movie, but I will now.

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  25. I must admit, I've never read The Secret Garden. Guess it's time I give it a try. Smiles, no matter where they come from, are a good thing. Thanks for making me smile by being here. :)

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    1. Ahhh. That's so sweet of you. And I'll return that by saying the same to you.

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  26. So many lovely reasons to smile! But wow, the formatting for that one book sounds beyond frustrating. No wonder you couldn't enjoy it!

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    1. I suppose we all need to understand how all aspects of putting a book together are important if we want it to be successful.

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  27. Thankfully I think my formatting is fine. At least kindle preview says it is. I'm sure some grammar thing got by me, no matter how many times I or others go over it, but hopefully not three in the first paragraph lol

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    1. Right. At least bury them somewhere in the middle, right? :-)

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  28. Editing is always a task for me. I've spent days submitting and resubmitting pieces as I've altered their editing/appearance in Kindle.

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    1. We all have that experience. I've cast stones and now watch me open one of my books and find a glaring error. Yikes!

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  29. I know what you mean about badly edited. At a certain point, I can no longer tolerate the book.

    I've never read The Secret Garden. But yeah, it's interesting to read things from a different era and see how things have changed.

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    1. I guess the message here is a good story is a good story, and it will last over time.

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  30. Its harder than its seems telling a story through the emotional state and atmospheres of the chosen characters but it sets the tone for when something is going to happen.

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    1. It's great when an author puts me inside a character, so I can feel what s/he feels.

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  31. I am with you about the smiles that comes from viewing the world from a high point... I also receive such smiles from views from a canoe or kayak or a day sailing.

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    1. Oh yes. There's something wonderful about seeing land from the water.

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  32. Can't recall how long it's been since reading The Secret Garden. And of course, back then I didn't really consider the POV. What an interesting choice for the Club.

    Miles of Smiles - I like that. Smiles are something that we can so easily share. :)

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    1. I wondered why this book for analyzing character, but after rereading it, I understood.

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  33. I loved The Secret Garden as a kid, and re-read it as an adult years ago. I agree--its story-telling power withstands the ravages of time and style.

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    1. That really is comforting, isn't it. It's something like having an old friend to visit again and again.

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  34. Hi, Lee,

    That is the way the wrote stories in those days... that is why they called it story TELLING.... LOL. I actually enjoy the classics.... even as far as the now immortal HARRY POTTER SERIES.... I reread them often and the first three were LOADED with adverbs, TONS of telling, and TONS of narration and MEGA descriptions.... Yet.... they crossed billions and still are. Why is that?

    Timing surely is everything..... Plus a GOOD story is a GOOD story no matter how it was written.

    For example the TWILIGHT series. HORRIFIC writing, but the story was monumental and grossed millions as well....

    Drives ALL of us writers crazy, but the masses love it...

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    1. And it's such a subjective matter, isn't it? What one of us loves, another wouldn't bother to open.

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  35. Thank you for this, Lee. It happens to me a lot and I'm left feeling like the one who failed. But it's not my fault if I can't dig my teeth into a book. I must remind myself of that.

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    1. There is a partnership in this, and the writer has to meet the reader more than halfway.

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  36. Hi. Once into the language and period of these books, it doesn't matter to me if the author would never get an editor's approval today. I love the classics. Misspellings though drive me crazy. Love your kitty :)

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    1. The kitty was a perfect touch for this post.

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  37. This is one of the stories that really stands out from my childhood a very, very long time ago!

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    1. The great thing about stories like these is that we can share them with our kids!

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  38. I read this one growing up and really enjoyed it. I should reread it as an adult. It is interesting to think about the head hopping and telling that was used to create the story. Loved hearing your thoughts!
    ~Jess

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    1. Before we had experts tell us how to tell a story, we actually managed very well.

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  39. Stories were written differently back then. I'd have to re-read this one to see the points you are making, Lee.

    I just read From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg and discovered that this award-winning middle grade story was told by an adult narrator, Mrs. F. She supposedly interviewed the children protagonists to get the story to tell. I bet we probably couldn't do that today. And the 2 middle-grade protagonists ran away from home. Interesting. All best to you, Lee.

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    1. Adults are supposed to be absent or helpless in books written for kid. I disagree. I like to see adults, especially elders involved in a story.

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  40. Hey, Lee, I get disappointed when I can't finish a book. Most of my Kindle reads have only 6% or so read. Life's too short to read bad, or badly-formatted-edited books when there's help available.
    I overlook those POV challenges in the classics as it was so different then. I still love Secret Garden and only re-read it last year for pure enjoyment. But even best sellers like Nora Roberts have head hopping even occasionally within a paragraph with no break. Urk!! But I've read that romance can be an exception for changing POVs, but I don't like it.

    Hope all goes well. The beach gets me smiling, no matter the weather...and a good book, of course. :-)

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    1. The pendulum doth swing, so I'm thinking we might see a return to storytelling techniques we've tossed. We'll just put a twist on it and call it new. :-)

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  41. YES. As a reviewer, it can be so hard, because I seriously don't want to give bad reviews. But sometimes authors leave me no choice. :/ So yes, I totally agree and relate.

    It's always interesting to see things like that: when others use the very tactics you've been warned against to create some of the most-loved stories of all time.


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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    1. I never review a book I can't give at least 3 stars to. I used to say 4, but I've adjusted my star system. And I'm still conflicted by that decision. I need to write about this at some point, so I can think my stand through.

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  42. That doesn't happen often to me, but I can imagine you being stomped, it certainly would kill any reading vibe. Hope to pick up a book this week, thanks for sharing and nice week!

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