As the expected release date of my first book draws closer and closer, my nerves are wrapping tighter and tighter. Granted, I was able to release the work earlier than expected, but everything I have posted to most of my social media sights has September 1 attached. (I guess this is the difference between a “Grand Release” and a “Soft Release” to paraphrase a retail phrase?)
I understand that when you have published a date, any views you get for your book are serendipity, but the fact that I have gotten so few views is causing me to become worried that my writing style may have broken a few too many rules.
So, which rules exactly do I know I’ve broken?
Well, let us start with the first thing a reader sees – the cover.
Through reading for personal information, I have seen several times that readers do not like having a character depicted on the main cover. I broke the rules at first, but was never fully satisfied with the original concept. So, this is the most recent one, and I am happier with it than any of the rest. Still have a few broken rules, as the cover does not give the “feel” of a fantasy book, but rather a horror. Not exactly what the book is, but this at least has the right gut instinct feeling. To me, any way.
Oh, where to start on this one? Just about every thing I have read in regards to writing style have been thrown out the window. Granted, I started writing this as a means to inform about the character’s background, but that short piece morphed into this major project. (And, I’m loving every minute of it.)
- Narrative descriptions – There is very little dialogue until well past the halfway point of the book. What dialogue there is, is there strictly to reinforce the situation the main character is in.
- Character names – you are introduced to the main character from page one. But, names do not come along until you are well into the story. Even then, the main character is not named until well past the halfway point.
- One complaint from a beta reader – the plot gets a little confusing because the main character is NOT named until so late in the story. However, as fantasy is not this reader’s preferred genre, I took the complaint with a grain of salt. I did double check by re-reading myself to ensure proper continuity of the plot. The other beta readers did not mention this, though I asked for specific feed back on the issue.
- Fight scenes – Yes, I dwell on these scenes in almost morbid detail. Not because I enjoy depicting the blood and gore, but because of who and what the main character is. There is a lot of action in the first half of the book with the main character fighting for his life.
- Though there the fight scenes are well depicted, I did attempt to handle them with some dignity for both sides of the fight. Well, as much dignity as I could, given the setting of the book allowed.
- Speech patterns of the characters – when dialog is introduced, there is a radical difference between the speech patterns of the main character and any supporting characters. If you read through the first half, you can understand why this is so, and you would understand that speech for the main character is phenomenal considering what he has been through! (At least I think so, as do most of my beta readers who enjoy fantasy.)
- Conflict – Not necessarily related to the actual fight scenes with a life-and-death conflict, but the tension between the main character and the surroundings. I think you could honestly say that this series is well classified as “Man vs Nature” with the “Man vs Man” providing some support. But, defining exactly what “nature” the main character is in conflict with may not be readily apparent… at least not until later books in the series.
- The ending – This book completely wraps the first part of the series up. I actually had to go back and expand the final paragraph to open the second book to the series in order to pick up the action once again. Because this is just the first book, I felt that “To Be Continued…” was an appropriate way to let readers know they had come to the end of this particular installment.
Not sure I have covered every rule I have broken, but I have covered the ones that stick out the most to me.
Just an idle question to fantasy readers: If the story was well written (which my beta readers say it is), fast paced (I’m biased, so not commenting), and still managed to break these rules, would you be willing to give it a chance? Especially if it was from a new author?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.