It has been a long week of reworking things on the book. It’s now at the 75K mark and closing in on the finale. After a great deal of kind feedback from a respected agent I’m taking a new tack on the book. The story remains unchanged but I’ve been given the green light to harden edges and let out my inner savage by someone who knows far better than the humble author.
I’d tried to scale the violence, meanness, dialogue acidity, and gore in the book to what I thought were market sensibilities in the Christian book world. I didn’t want to offend anyone, and it meant taking the rough corners off of some characters and softening dialogue. He said that’s a waste of a good story and potentially good characters. So, I have been writing with an eye on behavior. The real people I’d originally envisioned are coming out now and I like them much better. Conflict is good. (It’s true! I read that in “Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass, and if it’s in a book it must be valid.)
I’m not going back to change anything I’ve already written until I’m done with the story. But since this week was spent polishing up my entry for the ACFW Genesis Contest. I added some missing detail to the first few chapters and thinned out some prose that was redundant. Again, things suggested by the agent. He was right. It does read better the way he described it to me. I’m not saying that I need to bow and scrape, but it’s obvious that he’s got a lot more experience than I do and if I can avoid being bullheaded it will make for a better book. He saw what I originally envisioned but softened. Thanks to him I’m back following my instincts. Come to think of it, maybe I’d better bow and scrape – he has great insight.
Tonight will be the last part of the story arc before the final big kablooie. I’m loving the fact that this is just flowing like water when I sit down to write. The stumbling of years gone by hasn’t come back. I like what I’m doing and think the reader will like it as well. If you’ve got a few minutes, say a prayer for that Genesis entry of mine. I’d like to make it past the waste bin this year.