Monday, January 31, 2011

Focus is a Good Thing

I recently finished reading Jean Auel's THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES, which continues the story of Cave Wonder Woman Ayla and her Hunk Muffin Mate. 755 pages. 300 could've been edited out and done the book no harm whatsoever, in my opinion.

The core problem? Failure to focus. Storytelling is a lovely pastime, but it cannot amble down every last tangential path. Some novelists seem to enjoy rabbiting away down this side route or that narrow opening into who-knows-where.

Not my thing. I'm still working on the first draft of PEACEWEAVER, my 974 Wales romance, and my biggest challenge is to stay on target. Stay focused. Tell the story I'm meant to tell and not follow these characters down too many cattle-paths. It's tempting. I know. I've been there. My books are better when I can dwell on one conflict, one main plot, one set of characters, and not wander all over the landscape, attractive as that is.

Thoughts?

5 comments:

Rabbitry Remarks said...

How did you get an advanced copy to review?

Rabbitry Remarks said...

How did you get an advanced copy to review? Any hints as to where things are left at the end of this one? I'm not asking for spoilers - just to know, generally, how things wind up. I'm sure Ayla discovers hot air ballooning and geo-navigation, so I don't need details like that....

Deb said...

I'm fortunate enough to know several librarians who do many acquisition tasks. One of them knew I liked Auel's work, happened to receive the ARC, and asked me if I wanted it.

You betcha! I did a lot of skimming, though.

Ayla ends the book by inventing the Internet. It wasn't really Al Gore.

Rabbitry Remarks said...

Sorry about the double post comment. I didn't think it took the first one.

I generally skim over all the names/ introduction stuff, and the incessant retelling of the clan rearing her days, and some of the flora/fauna commentary. We really just want to know how the story ends since we've been following it for 20+ years now. Let us just get to the end already.

Janny said...

She invented the Internet! Well, then, THAT explains the extra 300 pages...

T1