I didn’t think it was ALL bad, so I was keen to salvage some of the descriptive prose, born out of my more inspirational and creative moments.
My first chapter was set in Highgate cemetery. I had stumbled across that most amazing place whilst surfing the internet (as you do) and decided that was going to be the site where my love interests meet.
I like happy, cheerful locations! No really, it suited the gothic essence of my story.
Having not visited Highgate cemetery and the potential of such a visit eluding me in the foreseeable future, I scoured archives of the site and mustered up enough imagination to suitable describe a cemetery full of fantastic graveyard Victoriana.
I put the final dot at the end of my last sentence and read it through several times, but still it lacked something…an ingredient, a little bit of glue to bind it tighter, that little bit of magic, which makes an opening chapter explosive.
I was quandrified. (Yes, I know there’s no such word, but WHY isn’t there?)
I decided to speak to some peers, namely the wonderful community of BookRix, and posted my first chapter.
A lovely lady popped up. I call her Steelie, but I won’t tell you her real name (Gwen). She pointed out, in a most dignified way, how I hadn’t described my main character.
I was stunned.
Stunned that I had failed to offer any descriptive characteristics of my main protagonist. Turns out, on deciphering my faux pas, that I was so busy trying to describe the cemetery, I simply forgot my man.
That’s how not to write a book.
Characters and the development of them are vital if you want to grab the reader’s attention.
Don’t allow cardboard cut-outs to walk your pages, as I did with Mark Buzzard. With a name like that (one I stole from the guy who fixes my computer) he deserves a few distinguishing features or at least an account of his clothes and whether or not he is a follower of fashion. With a name like that…he wouldn’t be!