Uninteresting, unbelievable, unfair.
Reading the first draft of the best debut novel ever written by me, I bumped into all three of these ‘un-s’.
A lot of the novel’s narrative was based on personal experiences and real events. Tall tales of high times in Prague and Budapest.
These were vaguely amusing to read about for those present at the time, but uninteresting for anyone else. Minute detail about the journey from one part of the city to another, was nostalgic for me, dull for others. Uninteresting.
“He wouldn’t do that!” I had pebbledashed the manuscript with muesli. I had made Sean, the hero, do something that moved the plot along, but did not fit with what the reader knew of him as a character. Unbelievable.
A couple of characters were inconvenient. They had served their purpose in plot terms, but were a loose end. I invented a flimsy premise to remove them. Reading the passage, it felt like a cop out; which is exactly what it was. Unfair.
These three ‘un-s’ and a few others will quickly turn off any reader.
A good novel is built on trust. A trust that is built up through the book. A writer abuses that trust at his or her peril. Don’t let an un- turn your reader off.