Don't Judge Me By the Cover of My Book

I had just gotten some feed back from a friend who is an avid reader.  And one of the things that was interesting were the questions she'd written on post it notes, placed along the pages of my book. She had immediately asked questions about what certain things looked like, questions about the culture of my fantasy world, time line, etc. All of this within the first few pages.

Fall dammit!

Fall dammit!

There's a couple ways I can take this. A writer should always ignite questions within a reader's mind.  That's a good thing. Create interest.  Reward them by giving the answers or enough to at least spark debates like the movie Inception.

You talkin' to me?

You talkin' to me?

A writing example would be the Davinci Code. Robert Langdon always comes across plot elements that forces us, and him, to ask questions. Why was he called to aid in a murder investigation?  He's symbologist and the victim has a symbol carved into his chest. Did he do it?  We only met him when he got the call to help, so we're not sure.  But we find he didn't because of the victim's granddaughter. She confirms the French sergeant is trying to pin the crime on Langdon . Who's the nameless teacher?  We find out at the climax.

On and on with the questions but we eventually find out the answers.

So am I saying I'm just as great a writer as Dan Brown?

As I've lent my book out to people, they first see the book as not published and, therefore, not done by a professional.  They're judging the book not by it's cover but by it's credibility.  As a result, they're not patient enough to let their questions answer themselves, as I've made sure to do.

If she had placed the post it notes late in the book, then there would have been storytelling issues I would need to fix.  You can have certain questions linger on, like leaving the butler did it till the climax. Questions that either build the world or help move the plot along should be answered as we move along.

On the road again... 

On the road again... 

When we look at The Road by Cormac McCarthy, a post apocalyptic novel, we can't help but ask questions of time, setting, and what brought this disaster? But they're not answered.  I assume because McCarthy only wants the reader to focus on the father and the son, letting us be the judge of what brought the "flash". But would my friend question him?  Probably not. McCarthy is, after all, a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist.

So perception is key, and I did ask her to just read it and tell me if she enjoyed it. She said she did, but the post it notes stopped abruptly. Either her questions got answered or she didn't finish the book. Knowing her, she didn't finish. And I'm all right with that.  I can't make everybody happy. I can only make me happy.

They're all perfect

They're all perfect

And no.  I can't compare myself to Brown. How can one perfect cherry blossom be better than another?

The Million Dollar Question Part Two

First off thank you all for your responses.  Some were awesome, while others were really entertaining to read.

The Million Dollar question is a great conversation starter.  So if you’re at a party and you don’t know any one, ask them the question.  Then take the time to read them.  See if they’re telling their truth.  If they answer with ‘I don’t know’, which is common, then continue the conversation by asking what their interests are.  Once they list them, ask why they don’t pursue them like an actor would pursue an acting career.  Ultimately, the question is meant to free up your mind about money.  If money is taken cared of, or guaranteed, what profession would you take up?

In my book I separate people into two basic categories, those who follow their passions and those who don’t.  Their lives are then dictated by their decisions.

A lot of times people think they know what they want, but it’s really fueled by societal pressures, like getting married at a certain age because it’s the norm, or they choose a major in college because they think it’s practical, like software engineering.

People often forget what they loved and settle for what’s easy.  Because it takes courage to go for what you want, doesn’t it?

So how do people forget or settle?

It’s never from the inside, from your intuition.  The culprit is always from the outside.  See my article on What Do They Know.  Outside influences can often times mimic intuition.

Now here’s part two.  If you were to ask yourself the Million Dollar question, how would you know if it was your truth?