I want to know the characters, not the history

By Nina Santucci, author of Fooled

Dec 27, 2014: This probably sounds a bit hypocritical coming from Ms. Exposition herself, but I have to say I had a tough time getting through the first two chapters. In fact, I will admit I skimmed quite a lot. This story is interesting enough, but the opening chapters have SO MUCH EXPOSITION that I got bored almost right away.

I think the problem is that the author isn’t even describing a scene, just providing facts. Personally, I don’t think everything has to be in dialogue if it is relevant to the story. For instance, the opening sentences of chapter one are very interesting and relevant, as the author vividly describes the mangled body and sets the scene. At this early point in the story, though, all the info about werewolves and the different creatures just isn’t necessary yet. I would rather read about the character’s opinions than get their life history, even though I’m sure it will be necessary later on.

Another quibble I have with the writing is that, with the writing style and amount of detail combined, I have a tough time believing that the narrator is a surly loner. The narrator seems almost more like a teenage girl (like a Bella Swan character), which is obviously jarring. Like this line from the first few paragraphs – "I suppose it’s an indication of how broken I am . . . " No asocial carpenter is going to talk like that, ever. I’m wondering if it would be better in a more detached third-person format, where you are still privy to Winter’s thoughts but where he isn’t required to spill his heart in order to clue in the reader, breaking character in the process. Just a thought.

I don’t want this to sound like a flame, though, because it is clear that a lot of work has gone into these opening chapters. The author has a knack for good descriptions, and I was definitely hooked right away – I wanted to know what happened to that body, and what Winter was going to do about it! The problem was that I didn’t really get the payoff that the strong opening suggested. It would be better to tone down or cut a lot of the unnecessary description, and amp up the dialogue instead so we can learn more about the characters first.

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