Monday, May 23, 2011

My World & Welcome To It

Saturday the writer's group discussed the first 5000 words of Addicted, my first work of fiction. By and large the comments were positive. Especially considering it's my first attempt at fiction, I was very pleased. Since Saturday I've been working on revising the manuscript based on their feedback.

Except for me, everyone at this meeting was female. They said they needed to know more about what Josh (the main character) is thinking and feeling--especially during or immediately after the one sex scene they read. Adding his reaction to the situation never would have occurred to me and I'm grateful to the group for pointing out specific paragraphs where more insight is needed.

The group gave me a lot of minor edits and pointed out my tendency to go overboard describing action. They offered several specific suggestions to strengthen or tighten up specific scenes. To the best of my knowledge, all their suggestions have been incorporated in the revised draft.

The biggest criticism was that Josh comes across as more than a little whiny. I tried to show how devastated he was by the recent (bad) ending of his 17-year relationship. Since almost everyone felt the same way, I was forced to agree I'd probably gone too far. Again, I'm grateful for the input (and equally glad they didn't see the earlier versions where even I thought he was too whiny).

They also encouraged me to eliminate the first chapter. The purpose when I wrote it was to lay-out all the back story. Essentially it's written like my memoir, Glass Houses--all telling and no showing. Once I got past the first chapter I felt a lot more comfortable writing fiction. Tossing out the first chapter made sense. It took a lot of effort but I finally managed to incorporate all the important parts into the second chapter (now Chapter One) and cut the rest.

Some found Josh unlikable because of his behavior. He smokes pot like crazy to fill the void in his life since the break-up and in the opening chapters has a couple of drinks. The clincher for some was Josh driving while stoned and drunk. I'm sticking to my guns on this one but did go back and add more about his motivations for the behavior.

A few readers outside of the group have been upset about Josh having unprotected sex. Again, I'm not backing down. However I did add more about what he was thinking and feeling to cause his reckless behavior.

Addicted is a work of fiction. The characters and the story are made up. But the world where the characters live and in which the story takes place is real. The things that happen may not be pretty or moral or politically correct, but they reflect a certain reality. I know that reality is foreign to many potential readers, but once upon a time it was home to...

The Crotchety Old Man

1 comment:

City of Dragons said...

Excellent post as always!

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