Happy Monday. It's been snowing here, and school is delayed by 2 hours for the kids, so I'm already experiencing bliss before coffee--note, sarcasm. I've also talked to a friend about a critique I recently gave her. And it brought me to an interesting conclusion.
It's all in the details.
My friend wrote a young adult book about an angry teenager dealing with some major drama--the death of her family. There are paranormal elements to the book, and the whole concept is terrific. EXCEPT there were points of confusion for me in several places. What's funny is that we talked, and she had answers for everything. Not in a defensive, that's-why-I-did-that way, but because she really did have viable explanations for everything. Problem is, she didn't put them in the book.
And that's a problem many authors face. Have you ever read a book where you just don't understand why characters do certain things? I have. Heck, I've written drafts like that. Sometimes it takes another person, someone removed from the story and the backstory in the author's head, to see the issues. This isn't to pat myself on the back for doing a critique, but to point out how easy it is for an author to know what she or he means to say, but not put it in the story because the author understands and doesn't realize she/he hasn't shared that factoid with the audience.
Once I spoke about these items with my friend, she realized she needed to put small bits in. Fortunately, the story is solid. It just needs some tightening. But that tightening makes all the difference. What a cool concept. And as I think that, the sun is coming out and the snow starting to lighten up a bit.