IT'S NOT THE READER'S JOB TO
IT'S THE WRITER'S JOB TO
A few years ago, everyone was raving about a Popular Novel. It sounded good to me, too, so I picked it up. I slogged through about 30 pages before I put it down. I found the writing dense and the subject matter confusing and boring. When I mentioned this to a friend, she said, "Oh, you've got to get past the first hundred pages. Then it gets good."
It's not my job, as the reader, to "get through" anything. My only job as the reader is to bring myself to the page, to be open and willing to be carried away by the story. I will bring my imagination and my attention, my hope and delight. I will also, almost always, give the book a chunk of pages - not one hundred! - and a chunk of time before giving up. As a reader, I like a sense of mystery in those first few pages. Mystery, not confusion. Ground me in the story and its people first and then let those questions fly.
As I write, I ask myself questions - How can I bring my readers, seamlessly, easily into my story world? How can I make them want to stay? If I was reading this, what would I want to see happen? What would I expect to happen? How can I surprise my readers?
That's my job. And I love it.