Something I'm finding in the crits from WriteOnCon has me wondering again.
See... it's not limited to the forum, although I'm lucky in that my CPs usually don't step in this trap.
A trap named being overly critical.
Now before I go on, let me just say that this isn't about me being unable to handle my criticisms. Because heaven knows I give as good as I get. And I don't just see this in my own works, but those by others too.
But the thing is, I think for and CP there's a very real risk that they're so focused on being a CP that they forget they're supposed to be readers too.
And here's one thing readers do a lot of: they wait. They wait to find out what happens in a chapter. They wait to see if the characters end up together. They wait to find out more about something that intrigues them.
They don't care that they have to wait, though, as long as there's plenty going on in the mean time. Or enough things readily available in the story right at that moment to keep them going until they don't have to wait any more.
Make sense to everyone else?
So why is it that my first five pages seem to be getting crits where people seem to want to know everything right now? They book is 110k words long. If I told anyone I'd put the explanation of some of the biggest factors in my book right in the first five pages, they're probably laugh and call me mad.
Same with the first 250 words. It's 250 words. In a 110k novel. At the start. And I was a good girl and didn't start with an action sequence. Where would anyone expect those first words to go? They only gain their meaning as the chapter progresses.
In other words: wait.
And yes I start those 250 words slowly, because I want to lull the reader into the fact that, yes, the story starts somewhere they didn't expect. I'm actually fulfilling my first job as a writer: gaining a reader's trust. The trust that's needed for a reader to be willing to wait. Because why would they wait if they didn't think I'd reveal what I need to reveal in due time?
But yeah... being a CP means you need to think as a reader and a writer. Not actually as a CP. As a reader you need to think: hmm... if this was a published book, I wouldn't have thought of the comment I'm writing now. As writer you'd think: hmm... this is different, but why is the writer doing this?
As supposed to just blasting away with crit that writers have to dismiss because it's neither pointing out an unforced error nor pointing out why a reader would have a problem with this.
So if someone who's never been a CP asks me for advice, I'd suggest the following: Think before you comment. And if you're a trigger happy commenter, read the piece at least once before starting to crit. Because you'd be surprised at how many times the answer to your question is only two sentences away.
What about you? Do you also get a little annoyed when you read comments by people who clearly didn't think before they wrote?