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April 08, 2016



You're reading "It all tied up too neatly" as something along the lines of "I wish more of the plot threads had been left dangling", but I'd interpret it more as "The conclusions felt artificial, forced, and unconvincing."

You know, "Oh, how convenient, the murderer was the detective's father and he also just happened to have the World Series Tickets the sidekick could use to impress her love interest" -- endings that feel unearned.


Similarly, "Clearly setting up the sequel" can be taken at face value, as "Why are you even thinking about a sequel or bringing it to my attention." But, it can be a very valid criticism if the book doesn't keep the balance between "wrap this book up and make it satisfying" and "interest me in the next book." If you weigh the balance too much towards building up the sequel, you can get to the point where the reader's going, "Then wait, what am I reading this book for?".

You can have books that start sidelining the book's own plot, making it a sideshow to the next one. Or an element or subplot that don't serve any purpose in this book, that don't go anywhere, that don't do anything interesting, because the interesting part is going to be in the sequel.


Ultimately, you can't trust a reader for a diagnosis. But you can't dismiss their reactions, either. If something bothered them, then hey, something bothered them. Translating that back to a useful critique is a different matter, but in these two instances, I think there's material to work with :)

Ronald Tierney

C'mon, write some stuff. Enjoy your wisdom, insigt, and humor.

Gail S Kibby White

I'm a newbie to writing.

After working for years as an Executive Secretary then my own secretarial services business from home transcribing customer's novels for publication, I decided to try my hand at writing my own. I've enjoyed mystery-suspense-thriller stories in book form, TV and movies all my life.

James Patterson is just one of my current favorites including Mary Higgins Clark, Marshall Karp, and Sandra Brown.

I enjoy the way James Patterson has created his series i.e. Alex Cross, NYPD Red and others.

I'm planning to end my first novel (to hopefully be published later this year), Susan's Stalkers - Double the Fear with a lead into what I hope will be the next book in a series.

I just wanted to say I've enjoyed reading your articles and the comments especially the tips for writers.

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