Thursday, July 26, 2012

One trick pony books

With the release of my second book, I’m seeing a trend in the feedback. Overall, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. It appears I’ve been given a gift for character development, plotting and pacing.

I tend not to dwell on the negatives, and to be fair, the “negative” feedback hasn’t really been negative as more a commentary on the preference of the reader.

Something I’m hearing from readers is more prevalent with The Waxing Moon, though I did hear it some with The Hidden Sun. What is it? “The book is very complex.”

In the past, I would have been very confused by this statement. Why? Because most of the books I choose to read are complex. However, I’ve read a bunch of novels recently and I see a general trend of popular books. First of all, they are told from one point of view. Secondly, there is only one storyline—and sometimes it’s pretty basic.

I’ll admit it. My books tend to have a lot of things going on that add up to a greater whole. In fact, one reader told me I could write three or four different books with the plots and subplots from just one of my books. They meant it as a compliment because they said they were tired of “one tricky ponies”—meaning books that have simple plots and simple characters.

My next book, The Mirror of the Soul, is only about 60,000 words. Yet, it is told from five separate points of view. Because of the nature of this story, it really couldn’t be told a different way and be effective.

The Zealous Star is also told from multiple points of view and over a long period of time. Part of me worries that those who prefer “one trick ponies” will reject it out of hand. Again, the story is epic so there isn’t a way to tell it from one point of view without a lot of “telling” instead of “showing”. (That means the author has to explain a lot of things that the reader couldn’t know because they are tied to a single point of view.)

Lastly, Wall of Faith is the exception. It’s told from a single point of view. It follows the classic “three act” format, though the book is anything but predictable. It will be interesting to see the response from readers when I present them with a different writing style.

1 comment:

  1. And it's awesome that you're so versatile and can use each of these styles - gives you more flexibility as a writer, and hence, a longer career.