aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Problems with manuscripts: better off dead

I'm teaching a class on writing novels this weekend. Those who wanted to could submit the first 10 pages of their novel to be critiqued.

All the manuscripts I got were mysteries, although the class wasn't exclusively for mysteries. A couple of them started out with a lying, cheating or otherwise obviously bad guy. Seeing him in action took up most - and sometimes all - of those 10 pages. And then at the end of the chapter, he was killed, although the identity of the assailant was not revealed. I would guess the author was trying to show the reader WHY this jerk deserved to die, and to hint that there were easily a half-dozen suspects. But as for me, I just found myself spending a lot of time with a guy who had no redeeming qualities. Would a regular reader have kept reading?

I'm guessing a book like this would work better starting with the main character, instead of introducing him or her in the second chapter or third chapter.

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Tags: asking for it

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