I finished a suspense story last night and I didn't like it. But I kept reading it because I wanted to figure out why I didn't like it. I'm not going to announce the author or the book, BUT let me be clear it was NOT the BJ Daniels book on the side. (I've read a couple books since Big Sky Dynasty. I just haven't been able to change the picture on the sidebar of the blog. So the following information DOES NOT have to do with BJ Daniels' book. I actually liked that one!)
In analyzing this suspense that I didn't like, the author's word choices felt way over-the-top. Every sentence felt like it was over-exposed with description. Events, some even minor, had elaborate, dire need type descriptions. And cliches. All of these things left me feeling...immune? When it came time for a "dire-need" scene, I didn't feel the "dire-need" danger of it.
The romance. Why were these people together? Why were they soulmates? What kept them apart from each other emotionally? I could identify the reasons, but I couldn't buy into the romance. The romance wasn't well motivated. Frankly, the characters got on my nerves with their unmotivated attraction. (And some of the attraction scenes left me feeling skeevy, like I needed to take a shower! On more than one occasion I found myself saying, "Eeewww!")
The last thing that got to me was that I didn't feel part of the action or the story. I like stories where I feel I'm actually in the street with the people or listening to them argue or running with them as they escape certain death. I miss that deep POV.
The point of bringing all this up is simple. Analyzing why a story works for you or doesn't work for you can make you a better writer. For me, this book shows me what I have to be sure to do in my own writing. All in all, it was worth spending the hours I spent reading the book. Research. Lessons. What not to do. As I read, I thought of Danger and asked myself if I'd motivated my characters well enough for the reader to buy into the romance and to cheer the characters on toward justice and their Happily-Ever-After.
Speaking of Danger, I'm going back to my revisions.