After having published my first fiction (I have written many non-fictions under various names), I have come to realize something. Writing fiction is HARD. When you write a non-fiction, you're writing about something specific. It's information with data to back it up. Your audience is simple in the non-fiction world, they already are seeking that information. They look for the books specifically in it's genre. You simply are doing the research for them and putting it all together so they can absorb it.
However, in the fiction work, things are much different. And by different, I mean VERY different. I thought I would simply, "tell a story." Wrong. It's not that simple. When I wrote the book, I started off, telling my story. Then I felt, gee, I must add more to this. I didn't elaborate enough. I didn't tell enough background to paint the picture for the reader's mind. So I did so and ironically, I struggled with it. I ended up with the first three chapters of nothing but background and setting up the story. I failed miserably at this. I immediately lost my reader's attention. But, I thought I had to do this, otherwise I wouldn't be able to tell the story. Without a background, how would you know the character and feel for him. I wanted the reader to have empathy for the protagonist. So I painfully wrote the background and set up.
What I lost when I did that was "the hook." I immediately lost my reader's attention and desire to continue on. I didn't hook them to the story right away as when I originally began writing the story. That, "boom, something happened" to get their attention of what this story is going to be about and the desire to find out what happens next.
So I have deleted the first three chapters and have started the story, where I originally started. There's that hook back where it belongs. Getting the reader's attention and excitement built up right away and boosting their enthusiasm to continue reading. The mistake I made by drawing out the character's background is gone now. I will add pieces, here and there. But I have found the reader relates better if they draw the character in their mind themselves. They relate better and thus empathize with the protagonist. Which is what I wanted in the first place.
Additionally, there are grammar issues I am fixing. A few oopsies, where I had originally wrote the story in the third person and then decided to change it to the first person. The final scenes were elaborate enough, which disappointed the reader who was worked up all the way to that point. I am fixing that. That was a carry over from non-fiction writing by laying out the facts of what happened instead of making it happen in the reader's mind. So I am definitely repairing and rewriting that. And then there's the ending. I left them in a serious cliff hanger. Not that cliff hangers are bad. The intent was to make the reader question everything, if it were real or insanity. Nice, but I left it hanging to sharp. So I must fix that as well. I left them dangling unfulfilled.
Just some thoughts on hard lessons learned and a progress report.
♥ JK James