aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

I guess I have learned something about writing in the last dozen years

I sold my first book, Circles of Confusion in 1997 and it came out in 1999. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the first in what was a four-book series. The rights to those four books and a stand-alone thriller have reverted to me, and I put them back on the Kindle and made them available for other readers through Smashwords.com.

To prepare the books for the Kindle, I proofread my old Word files, knowing that a few corrections had been made on the files at the publisher. Re-reading my old writing was eye opening:

- I sometimes made the rookie mistake of giving people names that began with the same initial, ie, James and John.
- Some of my chapters were too long. Now I think anything over 2,500 (for an adult book) is too long, and shorter is always better. People get tired, page ahead, think “I’ll stop at the end of the chapter,” and if it’s too far away, they just stop. Whereas if the chapters are all short and end of a cliff-hanger, they are more likely to think it’s a page-turner.
- Dialog was occasionally just that, words only, without the character doing anything at the same time. Elizabeth George has something she calls a THAD - talking head avoidance device - which you can read about here. I use more THADs now, and I think my books are stronger for it.

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