Ratatoskr, the Asgardian Squirrel here:
Just been reading some of you humans' bestsellers.
All I can say is that The New York Times must be hard up for bestsellers!
For my own sanity I am giving all of you some things to stop doing to your poor abused novels.
1.) You Ain't Writing CITIZEN CANE
Stop with the symbolism and themes beating me over the head every fricking chapter!
One chapter you got this poor gal in a storm,
the next she's being baptized,
the third you got her washing her hands like Lady Macbeth.
I get it already!
Now, for the rest of your book,
I'm looking for the next symbol of cleansing AND You've taken me out of the story.
I'm not living it; I'm critiquing the darn thing.
2.) Don't TELL me what to feel; MAKE me feel it.
When you use the dialogue tag "She joked" --
what you're really telling me is that you ain't all that sure what she said is funny in the first place.
Most times your instincts are right. Make her words funnier or take those skunks out altogether!
3.) Remember I am an OCD rodent.
Love alliteration? Save it for your lousy love poetry.
"Cautiously she crept across the carpet to the corner closet."
You know what?
I am going to be counting C's for the rest of the paragraph
and looking for the other repeated letters throughout your clunky novel --
LIFTING ME RIGHT OUT OF THE STORY AGAIN!
4.) Beware the Missing Link!
No, I am not talking about monsters here.
I leave them for that idiot Roland to ask out on a date!
No, make sure the bicycle chain of your scenes flow naturally from one to the other.
How do you do that?
Make sure your characters' actions have a common sense to them.
Don't force your characters to do or say something
just because it gets your story headed where you want.
Make the circumstances such that your stupid heroine,
who should have minded her own business,
now has no other choice but to go where the plot needs her to be.
5.) The Trick to Pulling a Rabbit Out of the Hat is That the Rabbit is Already in There!
Lay those plot threads carefully.
It is alright to weave them in all sneaky like.
But you got to play fair with the reader.
No having the starship Enterprise whizzing over the horizon at the last chapter
unless you all casual-like left the communicator turned on in the prior chapter
while the villain was laying out her dastardly plan while she thought you were helpless.
Not unless you want the readers to feel whizzed upon for real!
Well, I have gifted you guys with some real gems.
Now, sit them broadening butts in those computer chairs and write better.
I'm tired of nose-bleeds when I read books in Meilori's.
All of the vampire customers here are starting to think squirrel-tartare when they look my way!