The Next Book, Part 3
The reason that we all end up reading a complete book is because the first chapter is good enough for our tastes: it’s interesting enough, the setup is of good quality, the introduction of the characters was decent.
Right? Wrong. The reason a person reads a complete book is different for every book that’s ever been written.
I recently read through comedian Jim Norton’s book, “I Hate Your Guts”, which is a book of essays that he’s constructed through his various social passions and stand-up act. The book itself has about 30 essays of varying lengths, all terrific, and no two are the same. I read this book a few times a year because it is hilarious and gives me a perspective on comedy that isn’t organic to my own career in writing. Not just because the first chapter is good.
So I’m in the outlining stages of getting this next book off the ground. I want it to be a well-written story that’s emotional, unpredictable, and heartfelt. “188” was an exercise in using the economy of words, this one will be something different in that respect. I can spend five pages talking about the constructs of the city that my characters live in, or two pages describing the pain that my protagonist goes through when something awful happens.
Why do people read a complete book in the first place? Well, hopefully, it’s because a person was kind enough to get the book in their hands to begin with…and that they are even more kind and have the determination to see the entire thing through. That’s a tall order in 2013 going into 2014. I know that all I can control is the story inside the book, and not whether they tear through the entire thing.