What’s playing on the iPod right now? BLUE TRAIN by John Coltrane
I’ve been doing a lot of full manuscript reading lately—which is always exciting. That next new client could be a read away. It seems like full manuscript requests go in spurts. We won’t ask for anything for a month or two and then boom, we’ll ask for four or five all at the same time.
So we recently just had a spurt so Sara and I have been reading like mad, and we’ve noticed an interesting trend for some of the fulls we’ve read the last couple of months.
The work will start off strongly with solid writing and a building story and then suddenly, the storyline turns 180 degrees from where we thought it was going. We are left puzzled.
What’s wrong with that?
Well, on one hand, nothing. Who wants to read a story where it’s obvious about what’s going to happen or how it will end? Twists or a little surprise are good things.
I agree but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about reading a manuscript that is really building one particular storyline (and a story I’m liking and really curious as to how it will end) when suddenly the plot diverges and the story goes galloping off in a totally different direction.
And I’m left with a raised eyebrow and a “wow, I wasn’t expecting that. That’s not the story I thought they were telling.”
Despite good writing and a concept I really, really, really wanted to work, I end up passing. The revision would potentially be too big or maybe that’s the story the writer really wanted to tell and I just couldn’t see it.
It always makes me sad though because the initial concept was really original.