…I’ve become a more critical reader. Years ago I read Nora Robert’s Dream Trilogy: Daring to Dream, Holding the Dream, and Finding the Dream. These books take place in Monterey, California, a place very dear to me. I’m from coastal California, and have lived as close as a block from the beach. More than just that drew me to these books. I loved the three different stories for each of the main ladies, the way the books were progressive for the time (though stated as “freedom of sexual preference,” the point is the same, and this wasn’t common in anything mainstream), the characters having goals despite having wealth, and so on.
Last week I decided I wanted to re-read them. What an eye-opening experience this was! I’m not quite certain these books would have landed a deal today, though who would have expected certain … other … books to land deals. I still love the stories in the Dream trilogy, but can’t say I’m a fan of the style.
Among other issues, her use of omniscient narration is jerky. One moment we’re in the head of one character learning information that, if withheld from us as it is from the focal character, could have added tension. Yes, we learn things that the characters involved don’t know, and often. There’s no notice when the head we are in will change.
In addition, she tells far more than she shows. This is probably what bugs me the most. Telling rather than showing is needed sometimes, and can be used to pass time, but this shouldn’t be the bulk of the non-action. She does a beautiful job describing the scenery and the waves crashing on the cliffs. The shortfall here is when describing the feelings and actions of people.
I’m presuming that this is a result of having nine books published in the same eleven-month span of time between the first and last books of this trilogy. Since her first published book, she’s had another out approximately every six weeks. I don’t see how very much editing can happen in that time.
These are things that wouldn’t have bothered me so much before I started writing. Since I wasn’t making any genuine attempt to do better, what place did I have to be overly critical? However, now that I am writing seriously, it reinforces to me the importance of showing. Showing is like a seasoning in a pie you’d notice if it was gone, but might not be able to put your finger on it.
Right now Sacred Honor is in editing. I will be more aware of areas that tell, and will be editing those to show more.