A good book reminds me of this kind of rain. The words wash through my mind with nothing pulling me out of the story. No awkward phrases. No unrealistic dialogue. No infodumps or abrupt transitions. Instead, I forget that I'm reading at all. I'm connected. My consciousness and the book are one. I hear the words like rain and they're beautiful, both individually and as part of a mysterious whole.
At the time of this writing, it's raining outside and I hear a leak. An unnatural plunk I can't help but focus on. I try to ignore it. The rain takes precedence for a moment, but my mind hones in on the leak again. Its rhythm mocks the rain's delightful chatter. The rain is no less lovely, but I'm no longer under its spell.
Even if I could ignore the leak, it wouldn't make the greater implications of this problem go away. The leak is going to turn into a water spot. We need to have the leak repaired. And if I'm honest, there's a leak in the garage I've been avoiding, too. If I don't take care of these issues, I'm going to end up needing a whole new roof. Or, maybe it's too late and I already do need a new roof. Horror!
Writing reminds me of this. Am I overlooking problem areas? Did that little issue I forgot to address in chapter three become a plot hole? I read through my work and listen for the leaks. Sometimes whole scenes need to be rewritten.
I want my readers to hear my stories like the sound of the rain against the earth, dropping from leaves and falling from the sky. I want them swept up by the storm and lost to the book. The moment they hear a leak, the rain is no longer something to be enjoyed; the whole story becomes suspect. They may start listening for things, holding a figurative flashlight in the garage trying to see where the water spot is.
How do you deal with leaky spots in your manuscripts? Do you catch them as you draft, or find them on the re-read? When reading published novels, do you ever get pulled out of the story because of areas that could have used some patching up?
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Diana Paz is the author of TWISTS OF FATE (Rhemalda Publishing, April 2013). She writes books for teens about magic, adventure, and romance. She was born in Costa Rica, grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she’s a beach bum. Diana graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a highly sweetened iced coffee. Find her at her blog:dianapazwrites.blogspot.com or on Twitter @dianapazwrites