Lesson Nineteen from a Manuscript Red Line: Don’t annoy the reader

I giggled when I typed out this heading.  Everyone knows not to annoy their readers, RIGHT?  But can you tell when you might be doing just that?

For an intro into where these tips are coming from, please see my post: A Full Manuscript Rejection, or a Gold Mine?  You can also click “Rant Worthy Topics” in my right navigation bar.  Choose “Gold Mine Manuscript” to see all the lessons to date.

In the Gold Mine Manuscript, before the extraneous POV’s were taken out, the Reader had more information than the Main Character.  The reason this was bad, is that the reader was fully aware of Bad Guy #2, and knew her name.  (Let’s call her Cindy).  So, a hundred or so pages later, when a character starts talking about “Cindy” and the main character says “Who’s Cindy?”  We get that “Duh” feeling followed by a “Been there, done that” when someone explains to him who “Cindy” is.

The publisher said “We need to know what he knows, not what everybody else knows”.

Now in the revise, the Main Character actually witnesses a scene with “Cindy” in it early in the novel.  (although he doesn’t know it’s Cindy yet.)  So, at least he’s seen her and has an idea of who she is.  I haven’t seen how the author works this part out, yet.

The first time I read the passage that the publisher had a problem with, I thought: “I know this already” but I understood the need for another character to tell the MC what was going on.  It was redundant though, and it didn’t feel right.  The new revision, with fewer POVs, and the MC discovering more on his own, should help work around little things like this.

The best thing to do, is not let any one character know more than your Main Character… if it is something that he or she will eventually have to find out.   You don’t want to be in a position of having to bore your reader even for a line or two, while you bring your Main Character up to speed.

JenniFer_Eaton Sparkle__F


3 responses to “Lesson Nineteen from a Manuscript Red Line: Don’t annoy the reader

  1. H-m-m. Sigh. Must go check it out. Thanks, Jennifer. o_O

  2. Ive found things like this before. I laugh a lot when edit.