I begin to understand the problem

I’ve been reading the early chapters of Impossible Takes a Little Longer to my writing group. While the reaction has been mostly positive, several people have pointed out that I’m spending a lot of time showing casual interactions between KC and her friends (Matt, Sarah, Skeeter) rather than on the plot — is this really what I should be setting up? Will the investment in these people pay off?

The answer, I hope, is yes. KC’s friends play a very large role in the book and her need to connect with people is important to her character. But after reading Dima Zales’ The Girl Who Sees: Sasha Urban Series I I can see why they’re concerned.

I picked up the book (cool cover by Orina Kafe) despite urban fantasy being a tough sell for me. That’s because it’s about a stage mentalist who discovers she has real magical powers. The interplay between magic and stage magic fascinates me (I’ve seen it occasionally) so as this was a free download (a hook for the seven book series) I gave it a try.

It read like the first issue of a new superhero comic book (which is not a bad thing) stretched out to 300 pages (that’s the bad part). The set-up far outweighed the plot: we hang out with Sasha’s roommates, hang out with her at work and spend long stretches where the magical initiates are explaining the magical world to the newbie (that almost always turns me off). If it had been Sasha Urban #1 I’d have been okay with this, but for a novel, even the first in a series, it seems like a waste of space.

So yeah, the feedback on Impossible has a point. The relationships will pay off but too much time spent on them is going to give the book the wrong feel. Of course this is the first draft of my redraft so like a lot of writers I’m setting up a lot of stuff up front to make sure I can put it in. I can shift it around and sharpen the focus of the early chapters in the next draft.

While The Girl Who Sees didn’t work for me, it was useful to read it.

#SFWApro. All rights to cover image remain with current holder.

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Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Reading, Writing

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