I’m still toying with the idea of using a biker chick in my next novel. So I picked up another biker novel with a promising premise: how the main character transforms from a straight-laced yuppie accountant into a rough-and-tumble biker capable of violence. Ah, a topic near and dear to my heart: character transformation!
Unfortunately, it was a rough start. I almost didn’t make it past the first chapter (the author describing the character – in both past and present tense). Lots of telling, not enough showing.
This book had all the typical first-time writer problems. The point of view shifted often. Sometimes we got a point of view of a minor character for a few paragraphs and never again. Events happened that didn’t move the story forward and were never followed up on.
But perhaps my biggest issue was believability. For a story about transformation, there were just too many instances of character action that didn’t ‘fit.’ For example, at one point the character had been a pledge for only a few weeks when he participated in a beating and actually pulled out the guy’s fingernails. This wasn’t believable at this point in the character’s development. It would have been more believable if he’d cheated on his wife (which he never did, even though he had a biker babe throwing herself at him). Later in the story, when his white-collar boss called him into his office, I was expecting him to tell him his job was in jeopardy (and looking forward to the complications this would make in his personal life as well as the motorcycle club); instead his boss gave him a raise and cart blanche schedule.
And what it is about biker novels and cliff-hanger endings? This book had one, too. Do other biker readers really like that?? Again I felt cheated, like I’d spent all this time reading and still don’t know what happens. There is no sense of wrapping up the story lines and sub-plots; they are just left dangling.
So, what to do? “Write a better one,” my friends say!