I’m facing an author’s inner frustration today. Got any advice?
I write character driven stories rather than plot driven. This means the reader must be able to feel the emotions of the main characters.
What if every time my characters spoke their dialogue I didn’t write their body language, their tone of voice, or their facial expression? What if I simply put, “he said,” or “she said?” Could you understand what they’re going through? Would you feel their pain?
I found a book in a drawer that I’d forgotten I bought some time ago that was a featured sale at Barnes & Noble. I never buy unless the plot intrigues me, and I at least skim through the writing skill of the author first. I must’ve forgotten to skim this one.
To be fair, I haven’t read much of it yet. But, I flipped through the majority of the pages to find “he said” and “she said” not sprinkled throughout, but a downright torrential rain. Within two pages I counted the word “said” used as dialogue tags fifteen times. I’m not sure I’ll be able to get through this with those distracting “saids.”
What bothered me most about this was that the book is published by a HarperCollins imprint, which is agent submission only. Don’t the editors over there clean that crap up?
I looked up the author. I’ve never heard of her before, but apparently she is a well-established YA author. Perhaps that’s why they don’t lookover her work as tediously anymore (or did they ever)? They figure fans will buy it regardless?
These authors who land big publishers are more respected than a self-published author like me, and yet they put out something like this book?
Now, I know that self-published authors can be a problem as well. I ran into a few of them who had joined my writer’s critique group when I lived in Florida. They felt they had an idea for a novel or a personal story to tell so they wrote it and uploaded it to Amazon without a second look. They weren’t crazy about the hardcore critiquing we did in our group and didn’t last long with us.
So, I can understand why some might be leery of self-published authors. And I likely have mistakes in mine that weren’t caught by my editor or me. But what makes the big publishers any better if they put out novels like the one I’m referencing?
For me, being an author is like being an unique fish in a sea the size of the entire earth, hoping to find other fish who are like me and enjoy the types of stories I like to read and write.
I just felt the need to express this frustration. Have you ever found a large issue like this from a big publisher?