I was thinking about how I should have cut down the rather boring introduction from DARC AGES, when it hit me...
Who says the reader can't just skip the boring parts?
See, writers and readers have this silly unspoken agreement. It goes something like this:
UNSPOKEN READER-WRITER AGREEMENT
1. The Reader is obliged to start reading the Text from the first line of the first page, and read the entire Text to the last line.
2. The Reader is not allowed to skip to the ending, alter the Text, tear out pages or deliberately misread the Text.
3. In return, the Writer pledges to have removed any unnecessary words from the Text, and to include all relevant information in the Text.
And the unspoken agreement is totally bogus. Everybody breaks it.
In reality, readers DO skip to the ending (if only to check that the ending is worth the effort of reading the rest). In reality, readers DO skip the boring passages. They DO add their own comments to the original text.
In reality, writers DON'T edit down the text to contain only what is absolutely relevant to the context of the whole narrative. In reality, they DO omit necessary information.
So I thought: is this why books are so damned long nowadays?
To allow the picky reader to choose what to read and what to skip?
To what extent should I let the reader choose what to read?
And does this allow me to get lazy in my editing?
Are we all just pretending that people read the whole book?
What do you think?