I’ve been wondering lately what people think of slow burn (slow paced) novels. I don’t mean novels that go on-and-on about a rope unwinding, or describe every single item in a room to a reader. What I’m talking about are stories that start off slow, allow readers to become familiar with the characters and their surrounding situations. The reader actually gets to care about these people and their lives before all holy hell breaks loose.
This was a big topic of discussion on the writers group I belong to. Most people agree there should be an inciting incident happening pretty quick (as soon as the first couple of paragraphs and no later than chapter five for all books). If you don’t know what an ‘inciting incident’ is it’s an episode, plot point or event that hooks the reader into the story. This particular moment is when an event thrusts the protagonist into the main action of the story.
Anyway, I agree with the need for an inciting incident I don’t see the need to be so fast. I find in a lot of books/novels these days’ authors drop the reader right into the action, normally within the first few paragraphs. If not, the first paragraph.
So people love this. It reminds them of movies and it gets their heart beating and, for them, it’s the best way for a novel to begin.
For me, I’ve hardly gotten to learn anything about these people, so why do I care if some monster, explosion or whatever is chasing them.
It’s only chapter two and their mother died in their arms. The house they lived in blew up and aliens (or vampires or zombies or whatever) are rounding up the survivors. Well lovely, but hey, could I maybe get the characters last name first. Perhaps, find out that they have brown hair and green eyes. I need to connect with these people. I need to relate to them.
Is that too much to ask?
Am I expecting too much?
Or worse yet, I’m I the only one who cares about this stuff? Clearly I’m not, because there are tons of books out there that move at a slower pace.
Still, is fast passed action, action, action all that people want? Look at our movies and TV shows, you barely get any character information before you’re thrust into the action sequence.
Ugh, it gives me whiplash.
So, I continue to wonder are slow burn books dead? I hope not. Because if that’s the case, as a wannabe author, I’m screwed. Two of my works in progress are what I would consider longish stories. One ‘The Calling’ hovers around 100k words. The other ‘A New World – Contact’ is around 169k words. Currently, I’ve been trimming them both down, trying to cut the fat and leave the flavor. It’s a slow process.
So, I’m asking, what do you all think? Do you care about these things or do you want a good story that you can sink your teeth in and enjoy? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Remember, you can always like and share this blog post. It lets me know what you all want to talk about. What are your thoughts on this topic?
See ya soon.