Fast, Slow, Talky, or What? #poll #amwriting

People who teach writing to sell — or who have been to a class or read a book on writing to sell — are always telling writers what readers want. Well, how do they know? Have they asked readers, or are they just parroting what they’ve been told by people who teach writing to sell?

So answer me this:

[yop_poll id=”1″]

You can check as many answers as are appropriate. Feel free to answer with an essay in the comments section. No points off for misspelilng.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: How do your three favorite books begin?






I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Fast, Slow, Talky, or What? #poll #amwriting

  1. Andrea Gilbey

    October 24, 2016 at 7:51am

    I like a book that makes me work a bit and doesn’t explain everything at the start, but just drops the reader into a real world, so you learn about it as you go along.
    None of that 1950s B movie scene setting stuff –
    “Hello, cousin Peter, how is your father, my uncle Joe, brother of my mother, on this fine, sunny Tuesday June 22nd…?”

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      October 24, 2016 at 11:33am

      LOL! How much is “a bit,” though? How much diddly-farting around with ordinary life is tasty, and when does it become too much? For YOU, now, I’m asking what YOU think, not what other people may have told you “people want.”

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  2. Dan Antion

    October 24, 2016 at 8:09am

    Sorry about putting the essay in the “Other” box. I don’t follow instructions very well.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      October 24, 2016 at 11:34am

      That’s fine, Dan. It makes an interesting additional choice. ~grin~ And not following instructions very well makes life SO interesting, doesn’t it? 😉

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  3. Andrea Gilbey

    October 24, 2016 at 11:41am

    I can give you an example of “not a big enough bit” – Wuthering Heights. I always have to stop in the middle and re-cap who everyone is and how they relate to everyone else.
    @Marian Allen

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  4. Andrea Gilbey

    October 24, 2016 at 11:46am

    The everyday stuff – if mother is talking ti the kids at the sink I don’t want to know that the dog has been sick on the other side of the room unless it’s relevant to the plot. (Just realised I answered the question I thought you asked, nit the one you actually did) @Marian Allen

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  5. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    October 24, 2016 at 4:14pm

    I should have checked more boxes! Sorry – another one with her head in the clouds.

    Just give me a reason to read the second sentence…

    And I agree: don’t explain everything up front (the dreaded info dump), but instead explain a few things – and load me up with more questions. Repeat.

    I don’t like long prologues having to do with a different story completely – but some people like them instead of backstory. It has to do with the prologue’s quality.

    Mine is 145 words, one page, and generated a lot of controversy on whether to keep it or get rid of it when I posted it on Wattpad. You won’t understand some parts until the THIRD book of the trilogy – but other pieces get revealed as you go. I especially liked that, in the print version, I got to make it look like an actual page out of The New Yorker. That was fun.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      October 24, 2016 at 5:35pm

      I liked that, too! Your prologue COULD be skipped, but reading it put a bee in my bonnet that I realized (at the end of book 1) is going to be buzzing around up there until I finish the trilogy. Bzzzzzzzzz! lol

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      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

        October 24, 2016 at 5:50pm

        What was MOST interesting to me as a writer was that the people who didn’t like the prologue didn’t SAY that until they were well into the story – and wondered whether I had revealed too much too soon. I didn’t poll them again after the end of Book 1.

        But if the prologue does ANYTHING to get a reader to read a few more paragraphs, a couple more pages, another scene, one more chapter (assuming you don’t disappoint as they do that), then it’s a good prologue. Otherwise, it’s the first mark against the story, in your mind, and when you reach enough bad marks, most people quit reading.

        It has to be a dance between the writer and the reader to an invisible music.

        My daughter is a ballroom dancer – and leading and following are natural to her, and I understand what she means. Following a good lead is a pleasurable as leading a good follower.

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