Last night I went again to the Writing Critique group. It’s something I tend to enjoy, as I learn new things every time. Of course some lessons are harder than others. [Important note, the problem was not the club, it was mine]
Yesterday I wanted to run some dialog by the group, the feedback was ok, they liked it well enough. The problem is that because the dialog was plucked from a book, and not built up to the same level, their mediocre reaction was a shock to me.
One area for instance, the exchange between Jamie (My protagonist) and Austin, (her protector)
Jamie handed Austin a key on a large loop.
“Is it the key to your heart?” Austin said playfully.
“It’s the key to my legs.” Jamie answered without thinking.
Austin smiled, “Even better.”
Cute enough, right? For those that read the first (and second book) to the point when that line is said they find it much more humorous. They KNOW why Jamie is sleeping in a leg manacle (She is possessed by a demon that tends to mess her up when she sleeps). There are at least 14 different stunts he has pulled to humiliate her, harm her or just annoy her. She has been verbally sparring with Austin ever since she locked him in her trunk. There is a chemistry that has been built between them. If you read up to that point, the readers are relieved that she is doing this, the exchange is funny in that context. [Money says if you look at the comments, ML Newman will back up that the feelings and actions to this point made that line above much funnier and appropriate]
So the lesson from all of this? Excerpts don’t always work for review and probably don’t work that well as teasers. At least not the ones that take a book to explain why they are funny. The information I needed was there, and I was able to extract it. So if you are showing excerpt and snippets, be ready for them to back fire, or at least not get the reaction you are expecting.