Please, let me know your thoughts

I’m tidying my fantasy manuscript, which is ‘finished’, but not ‘finished’. As a first time author (as any author is), I’m conscious of gaining a reader’s trust. A story is about giving promises and then fulfilling them and making sure every word counts… that every word drives the story.

The thing is, I have a catch 22 situation. Being a first time author (of fiction) I haven’t yet earned a reader’s trust. It has come to my attention there’s a certain character in my manscript who doesn’t seem relevant. If a reader doesn’t trust me yet, they may lose interest and put the book down BEFORE that character’s relevance becomes obvious.

My question is:

  1. For the readers – do you cut a new author some slack before putting the book down?
  2. For authors – how do/did you deal with this problem? Where a character is there for a purpose but that purpose isn’t obvious until later in the book?

2 thoughts on “Please, let me know your thoughts

  1. Hi Rachel,

    I’m not sure trust can only be gained by the number of books you’ve written. I’m sure there have been writers who’ve written things that people love, but in a subsequent book they’ve done something which has broken the readers “trust”.

    Trust comes from playing fair with your reader, not deliberately misleading them, and being consistent in your world building.

    Not sure if you’ve seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but season 7 has a good example of this (spoilers ahead).

    At the end of one episode, it ends on a cliffhanger with Giles about to be hit in the head with an axe. A few episodes later he turns up in Sunnydale. The show goes through some convoluted gymnastics over a few more episodes so they can essentially set up some characters to leap to an incorrect conclusion about Giles (as far as I can tell, all in service of a one liner).

    That was not playing fair with the audience. If BtVS hadn’t already cemented it’s fans by then, it would have seriously undermined trust in their storytelling.

    So, in summary, I don’t think being a first time writer is a problem. Play fair with your readers, and don’t throw in plot twists or deus ex machina that come out of nowhere.

    Cheers
    Paul

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t even consider whether I’ve read the author or not when deciding if I enjoy a book. I also try not to analyze too much while reading. As long as I’m drawn in to the start and my brain is make the movie I watch from the words in the page, it’s a good read. For me it’s as simple as that. So trust yourself that what you’re doing is right and give it a go!

    Like

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