The Reader is Right

“The Reader is Right”

a·bridge əˈbrij/ verb

past tense: abridged; past participle: abridged

1. 
shorten (a book, movie, speech, or other text) without losing the sense.  “the cassettes have been abridged from the original stories”

synonyms:     shorten, cut, cut short, cut down, curtail, truncate, trim, crop, clip, pare down, prune; abbreviate, condense, contract, compress, reduce, decrease, shrink; summarize, sum up, abstract, précis, synopsize, give a digest of, put in a nutshell, edit; rare epitomize “she was hired to abridge the works of Shakespeare for a children’s book club” shortened, cut, cut down, concise, condensed, abbreviated; summary, outline, thumbnail; bowdlerized, censored, expurgated “an abridged edition of the college dictionary”

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There is line editing and then there is cutting down a story to achieve another goal, to abridge.  Sometimes the goal is to condense, other times the purpose is to emphasize a mood or to create continuity.  How do you know when you need to abridge?  When your wife reads your new experimental novella and then says, “Everything after page seventy-five is great, I could not put it down…  After page seventy-five.  The writing is great in the beginning, just, slow.”

A great rule of thumb is to remove anything that does not add to the story.  Even then, you run the risk of front loading, creating the essential foundation for your story.  I once heard the novelist John Irving joke that each of his novels starts on what was originally chapter five.  I suffer the tendency to write long-winded literary prose as I ramp toward action.  Tongue and cheek I refer to this as a mimic of neobaroque.  For most every release, I have chopped the first few chapters without any consequence to the rest of the story.

William Faulkner is cited as stating, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”  Have the thick skin to sacrifice phrases or portions to improve your project.

I have another great rule, ‘The Reader is Right’.  This does not apply to those that strive to give notes, share what they would have written or how they would have told the story.  This rule also does not apply to haters.  There are those readers that will not like your work, the story, particular content, or the genre.  When I apply ‘The Reader is Right’ rule, I define a reader as a ‘trusted reader’, someone that knows the genre and suggests a sincere reaction to a section or element.  When a reader states that a section is too slow, the section is too slow.  There is a temptation to argue that the underlying theme of the story builds or is dependent upon a section, that the portion in question is necessary to build a gestalt.  Don’t argue.  If a reader states you have a problem then you do.  If a reader closes the book and does not return than you have failed.  Toss away the section.  See if the loss matters.  If there is a key element that truly is a necessity than bring the element back in either a condensed form, a new section, or play with moving other pieces of the story around.

I have been fortunate that several readers have volunteered to be part of my ‘first reader’ program to have the opportunity to submit feedback to early drafts.  (If you are interested, you can email info@danielarthursmith.com).  I never shun feedback.

In a short time, I will be releasing Agroland.  Agroland is the only first person fiction that I have written to publish.  The novella is also the first horror.  Given I was playing in a new direction I was expecting varied feedback.  Most of the First Readers offering to peruse my work prefer the other genres I write in (Especially our hero Cameron Kincaid).  All of the responses offered contained the three red flags of critic, courteous, pleasant, and polite.  Why are these flags?  Because I have learned that Trusted Readers become excited, are quick to point to sections they loved, pages that did not work, and contribution toward realism.

The final reader for each project is my lovely wife, the epitome of nice.  She is a floral designer and owns a bouquet shop on the Upper West side of Manhattan.  When she suggests a change, I do not argue, I do not fret a months work needs to be reworked.  I thank her, buy her lunch, and then return to writing.  My lovely wife is doing a service to all readers.  When Agroland is released, the story will be abridged (at least the first seventy-five pages.)

Kindle’s #1 International Pulp Thriller Best Seller!


THE SOMALI DECEPTIONTHE SOMALI DECEPTION HITS NUMBER ONE!

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After spending the first month of release as an Amazon UK TOP 10 Best Selling Pulp Thriller, The Somali Deception has joined The Cathari Treasure to become the second Cameron Kincaid adventure that UK readers have propelled to number ONE.
Discover the Adventure UK readers have made an International Best Seller.
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or pickup the entire serial at a discount with

The Somali Deception The Complete Edition – Now on Amazon

5 covers

From the author of THE CATHARI TREASURE - Kindle’s #1 International Men’s Adventure Best Seller!

Former Super Légionnaire Cameron Kincaid returns in

THE SOMALI DECEPTION Episode IV of IV and The Complete Edition

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 When Cameron Kincaid is asked to rescue a former lover from aboard a hijacked yacht he discovers that the true Somali Pirates live in the London luxury suites of The May Fair Hotel, wear tailored Savile Row suits, and deal high stakes in the lounges of Paris, Ibiza, and Dubai. From explosive incursions to clandestine infiltrations, the action is nonstop and the deceptions are many.
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The Somali Deception Episode III – Now on Amazon

The Somali Deception Episode III

From the author of THE CATHARI TREASURE - Kindle’s #1 International Men’s Adventure Best Seller!

Former Super Légionnaire Cameron Kincaid returns in

THE SOMALI DECEPTION Episode III of IV 

* * * * * 
* * * * *
 When Cameron Kincaid is asked to rescue a former lover from aboard a hijacked yacht he discovers that the true Somali Pirates live in the London luxury suites of The May Fair Hotel, wear tailored Savile Row suits, and deal high stakes in the lounges of Paris, Ibiza, and Dubai. From explosive incursions to clandestine infiltrations, the action is nonstop and the deceptions are many.
* * * * * 

The Somali Deception Episode II – Now on Amazon

The Somali Deception Episode II

From the author of THE CATHARI TREASURE - Kindle’s #1 International Men’s Adventure Best Seller!

Former Super Légionnaire Cameron Kincaid returns in

THE SOMALI DECEPTION Episode II of IV 

* * * * * 
* * * * *
 When Cameron Kincaid is asked to rescue a former lover from aboard a hijacked yacht he discovers that the true Somali Pirates live in the London luxury suites of The May Fair Hotel, wear tailored Savile Row suits, and deal high stakes in the lounges of Paris, Ibiza, and Dubai. From explosive incursions to clandestine infiltrations, the action is nonstop and the deceptions are many.
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OPENING DAY ebook #FREE Nov 14 and 15

 

Opening Day

THE COMING OF AGE STORY OPENING DAY IS FREE NOVEMBER 14TH & 15TH IN HONOR OF THE MIDWEST TRADITION!

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OPENING DAY is a short coming of age story about a Boy in the Midwestern United States celebrating an anticipated rite of passage with his grandfather.  There are stories of the hunt that contain gore, the thrill of the chase, adrenalin of the kill, and the butchering of large game.  Despite the setting, this is not one of those ‘hunt’ stories.  For young people, opening day is not merely about the hunt.  Read this short coming of age story of a time since past to discover why.

Choose the Best Cover!

AGROLANDAGROLAND

The new horror AGROLAND is near completion and there are a lot of Great Artwork Choices. These two have made the top of the list.
Which image is the Best Cover for the new horror novella AGROLAND?