I think the biggest thing that happened there is that I wanted the twist and instead I got impatient. In my head the ending was the only clear certain part, and even that was hazy. It’s really hard to write what you can’t see.
Which is hard for me. I get impatient. I’m the kid who when reading aloud would skip to the end and read it to myself while everyone sat waiting. So I start writing a story and I keep struggling not to skip ahead and I don’t focus on the details.
I’ve gotten a lot better at this but I’m still pretty horrible. My only saving grace is that fantasy and more often scifi are exceptionally forgiving of leaving details to the imagination. But even there I leave too much out.
Take Jim Butcher. I thought he left details out. I thought he was just a nonstop rolling ball of action and goodness. Oh and Steve Brust. Same story. I can list -every- author I read regularly and I’d gotten to a point where I only followed the verbs. Friends would call me on this belief and I’d argue that they were wrong. After all they(my friends) didn’t read as widely as I did.
Except I went and discovered Audio books. Holy crap. I was missing half of what they wrote. Butcher describes all these boring mundane things like how dresden looks, and what he wears, and how he stands, and what ‘is face looks like.
Who cares what a blokes face looks like?
I continued listening to audiobooks and the sinking realization started to sink in. I read books like they were a flow chart. This happens, then this, then this, then this. There was a world of adjectives that I’d honestly skipped over. Phrases and words that didn’t have impact when you stripped them of all their flavor in an unending search for their content.
I’ve started trying to correct this. Unfortunately 20+ years of reading habits are hard to break. It’s physically hard to not scan the page. I have to read pages over and over again to ensure I get all the words. So I listen to more audio. This way I don’t miss the words. And I hope that doing so starts to feed into my writing. That maybe, someday I’ll figure out how to describe a person, or a room, without getting bored and wanting to skip to the end.
Then maybe I’ll revisit this story, fix the bad parts, slow the pace down, and really set the hook.