Because you’re giving me a laundry list of activities.

The times when I critique fictions and when I read the books for reviews, the first tendency I find is my desire to skim after a certain point. And I am unapologetic about it. If a reader is skimming, the fault is usually on the page.
Now, what are the faults?
Is it because it's a boring mood? Not always.
A tension-free scene? Not always.
Don't I skim in high-tension scenes? I do.

Even in a high-tension fight scene, you’re saying: "Then he ‘lifted' his right-leg, ‘twisted’ his elbow in the lower-left corner, ‘leaped’ to the air while 'swishing' his left-arms, until the hit 'went' through the villain’s neck ..."

Ok. The first disclaimer: I have Dyslexia and my husband needs to point me which direction when he says left and right. And you want me to imagine your MC's left-right in your book? No thank you.
The next disclaimer: Here, in the fight scene, I mostly skimmed, and then I decided for my own good that some sort of physical 'lifting' and 'twisting' and 'kicking' and 'punching' and 'leaping' and some other 'active-verbs' happened. Which I don’t care about. What I care about is the conclusion: The villain’s neck is gone. Simple.

Wait, is it gone? Does it say it’s gone or beheaded or broken? Oh! Gosh! Do I have to re-read that fight scene?
That’s when I get annoyed. You see, those sort of meticulous action-scene choreography or even normal daily-life activity-screenplay is not for me. Those works in films. Not in books. It works when John Wick does it. It works no matter he 'fights' or 'feeds' his new or old dog. In films, we see activity and try to 'grasp' emotion through back-ground music, actors' expressions, the set, and lighting.

But what about books? What will work in books? How to write what the MC is 'doing'? How to ‘show’ the MC if not through active-verbs?

"Alright, you’re saying I can’t give adjectives, you’re saying I can’t give adverbs, you’re saying I can’t give abstract-nouns either, now you’re taking my verbs? What will I write with? Pronouns and prepositions?"

No. You won’t be writing with pronouns or prepositions or connectors only. And I'm not against activities. I'm against when things turn into a list.
A list of verbs? BANG! A list of adjectives? BANG! A list of adverbs? Tremendously, seriously, ridiculously BANG! ... Make sure whether they are working. Sometimes they do work in an ironic voice once or twice in Book. Not in every para. Thanks!

How to make it work?

What you’ve to do is add feelings … not 'your' feelings … MC’s feelings. So, when you write an activity, write the verb, and then, add an ironic feeling of the MC as a replacement for that background-music. Add a sort of snide remark through the thought of your MC to replace Angelina Jolie's acting and tone when she says "Beasty" to the little girl. Don't just say 'he says' or 'she says.' Say how they're saying it. And when you say how they're saying it, say it with a real-life metaphor that everyone knows about. See, how I used Jolie or John Wick in this post? That's a metaphor with an example that everyone pictures instantly, rather than me only saying "add tone."

In the book, you've to play the characters' acting parts, too. You don't want bad actors for your books, do you?

And then, when you tell us about his feelings don’t start giving me a list of abstract nouns and adjectives, now. Like: "He felt soothingly and irrevocably emotional while kicking the butt of the villain ..."

Instead, how about, “The hero remembered how they used to spar with each other when they were still friends …” And then, you immediately get several info here with emotion, that the villain is an old friend, that they used to spar probably while training an early age, and that he is feeling ‘nostalgic.’

So, you cannot just give activities ... You cannot just give ponderings ... You cannot just give those expositions ... But you’ve to give everything together proportionately.

Spread out those verbs. Put thoughts and emotions in between them. Put concrete-nouns with abstract adjectives. Put metaphors with real-life examples instead of adverbs (Read Name Of The Wind for this one). Put those details 10 times more in your first 10 pages.

Why in 1st 10 pages? To cheat the readers that your book is the same as your first 10 pages? Um … Well … I wouldn’t say I haven’t read a Hugo book with a great first 30 page and terrible middle. But that’s not the true reason for the over-detailing in the first 10 pages. The need is for world-building. Initially, you need to give me a setting, I need to make up a page, a world, a background. And then in chapter-20 when you’ll be only saying she is in her room, and I won’t be wondering if the room is underground or above the sky. Because you told me that with details in the first chapter. And you cannot give me way too details with just noun-list in the first chapter too. That’ll make my brain explode.
You’ve to smoothen the nouns, the details, and the verbs with thoughts, emotions, and expositions.
And try to build the world in these expositions through snide-remarks or ironic thoughts of the MC. And then, carry it on in the rest of the pages, and NOT just the first pages. Don't cheat on your book. Don't cheat with readers.

By the way, did you skim through this post? If so, why do you think? If not, why do you think? Let me know in the comments.

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#First 10 Page mistakes all authors do
#Make the opening pages right
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#How to make the first pages engaging?
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#Fiction writing.
#Writing the first chapter


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