Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

What if I Bore My Readers -- T S Mercer, Guest Blogger

My Worst Writing Fear:
Boring My Readers

by 

T. S. Mercer
            
Listen, Mercer, I said:  “DON’T BORE THE READER!”

   I wrote those words on a sheet of paper and stuck it on the window right in front of me. Not only does it prevent me from aimlessly wasting time, staring out at passing wildlife, it also reminds me of that all-important rule for anyone in the entertainment business. And, yes, writers are entertainers, too 

   When I worked with a TV illusionist he was always ‘on’, always working hard to entertain the crew before filming began. If the crew became bored, then that would feed through into the show and it would become dull, committing the crime of being “boring”. Nothing kills TV or a book faster. And boring the reader is my worst writing fear.
            
   Lots of people read on the move, at airports, on buses, trains. They might read for only five minutes at a time. Therefore, at some point in those five minutes there should be excitement. There should be drama that – pow! – explodes from the page, and entertains the hell out of us. After all, it’s pointless having heart-pounding excitement at the end of a movie if the first part bores as much as lukewarm pasta with no sauce. And who reads a thriller if there are no thrills until chapter eight?
           
    So, if you intend to write scripts or books copy out those vital words in BIG letters: DON’T BORE THE READER (or VIEWER).
   Let me give you a tip. Every time you see or hear something that that catches your attention, make a note. Because if you experience something that hooks you then it’ll do exactly that to other people. For example, I’ve worked in maximum security jails. When I got home I wrote down everything that the prisoners said, and what I saw in those echoing corridors with steel gates and guard dog howling out in the yards. That stuff was pure gold. Lots of it went into the scripts I wrote and it grabbed the producers’ interest. They told me, “Do more of this. We like it.”
              
   You don’t have to penetrate jail walls to find incidents that set your readers’ minds on fire. You might overhear a conversation in a street – one guy telling another that there are rumours of stolen cash buried in a nearby park. No, don’t go looking for the stash. You’re going to use the conversation in a story that takes you to the bigtime. Because the strange stuff that is “real” has that something extra that makes your story shine brighter. This is what I do to avoid boring the reader.
           
   In fact, you can write down interesting events right now. Think back to what you’ve experienced in the past, or the exciting, mysterious, shocking things your friends have told you about. Has anyone confessed to you that they’ve seen a ghost? Or they saw a meteor crash into the woods? Or the night lighting struck your house and blew the TV across the room. If an unusual event catches your interest it’s a grabber. It will grab other people, too.
Okay, you MUST change names, disguise real places, fictionalize – but make reality work for you. And write that script or book that makes your dreams come true.


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Author Bio:
T. S. Mercer

   T S Mercer has worked in a maximum security jail and alongside a TV illusionist – not at the same time, it must be pointed out. When not writing scripts and articles Mercer spends as much time as possible in a house that occupies a sliver of land between the rolling ocean and some of the most beautiful mountains on Earth. Jail for the Damned is Mercer’s first novel.


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Blub:
Jail for the Damned


   America has found a solution to its explosive prison population. A city-sized jail located in a remote desert in an unknown country. It’s name: Newton Supermax.
 
   Once you enter, you won’t escape. Newton allows no survivors.
 
   Claudi Drive is about to learn that the hard way.
 
   Jail for the Damned is a gripping dystopian horror-thriller by T S Mercer published by Venture Press. It is an explosive newcomer to the New Adult genre, filled with action, twists and turns, and passionate throes.

Read excerpts and reviews of Jail for the Damned




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