Now I am facinated with the idea of seducing the reader, hooking them in. A well respected agent who showed mild interest in my story and after looking at my query letter and first several pages: gave me the well deserved criticism that she didn't fall in love with the story. Now I am constantly reading for the 'seduction' factor in stories. Asking myself, what compels me to read and care about these characaters? I think Billy Wilder who wrote "Sunset Boulevard", said that he tried to grab the audience by the throat and keep them there". I recently read about the young man who wrote the popular series "Lost". He said he always kept something a mystery, held something back. Even to the point of never revealing the information even at the end. He still has people ask him, where the heck was that island anyway?
I remember the movie "Terms of Endearment", in the first scene, Shirley McClain is a young mother and her baby is alseep in the next room. Shirely worried that the baby is quiet and wakes the baby up and when the baby starts crying, Shirely sighs relieved and goes back to bed. Setting up the entire movie with thier relationship being one of conflict. For books, I am still haunted by some beginnings. For instance in the Laura Ingalls series the initial packing up and crossing the ice as they began on the pioneer trail. Highly romanticised by Laura's daughter who was a journalist and edited her rather straight forward factual writing.
Winston in "1984", starting a journal and receiving a mysterious bit of paper while working in the Ministry of Truth through this tube at his desk, both serious crimes in his culture. When I wrote my first novel it has taken time for me to have this further realisations. I sometimes wish I had gone to a Creative Writing program. Althought not enough to do that now. I don't have the heart to do a second masters and didn't know at the time I would want to be a writer. I did not fully acknowledge this idea until I was 40. Although had inklings of it all along.
I read here that overall Creative writing programs have improved the cannon of western writing; the quality and the complexity in modern times. That is a nice thought. Sadly because of poor timing of events I am not interested in a Creative Writing program. Although seriously interested in getting better. Becoming more clear and complex and compelling. So, I will have to learn by reading how other writers are doing it and noticing what works and what sells. I read in the NYT's that a young self published writer with the last name of Hocking (I forgot her first name) has sold millions of copies of her paranormal series and now has a large book contract. She writes of trolls and otherworldly light hearted love stories I think? Suddenly this made me think that the paranormal is the way to go as it is popular right now. I love the quirkiness of the paranormal and have a facination with ghosts.
This is a bit farfetched but in rethinking how to lure readers in the first pages and seduce the reader to continue reading I have considered adding a ghost to my hook. Having this ghost from my past and perhaps even going to Paris with me? He could wear dead cats for shoe covers and have tattered angles wings that are bloodied and a broken front tooth? Or perhaps something more beautious like a Glenda the good witch of the north? Then my sanity returns and I think just a well written book with a good beginning and interesting characters and intuitively handing the story might be better. Also I like to solve questions by looking at various possiblities. Anyway, I certainly feel a new sense of purpose and committment to finishing. But knowing me and how long it took me to muddle through my masters thesis far after it was socially acceptable, I can see myself doing this with this novel. Although, I ended up being really pleased with my masters thesis especially after having it professionally edited. So, must put butt in chair. Add butt glue=butt glued to chair. Professional editor in the wings which will cost a small fortune but well worth it.