First off is the something right. My book SLIPSTREAM got reviewed by Jeff Adams over at his blog. He's a New Yorker that I made friends with via twitter, plays ice hockey, and he writes books for Dreamspinner Press. I really liked the review I got so if you would, please go check it out (warning there are some details that could be considered spoilers).
It's February 1st and it's Wednesday. It's time for Alex's IWSG from the man that may not have invented blogging, but has certainly defined it.
Because Valentine's Day is almost upon us, this month's insecurity is about love...loving your characters and/or secondary characters too much. My editor finished with my sequel (called Oculus
) and remarked that my pacing seemed "off" in it. However, she couldn't pinpoint exactly what made her think this (and a pacing comment can be as general as they come). It's like referring to something as "interesting". So yeah...this is the "something wrong" hinted at in the title above. Meaning that I know something IS wrong, but have no clue on how to go about finding it.
"That's so...interesting...hmmm." <== what exactly
does this mean?
So, I've had some serious pondering to do. And I've been doing this brain crunching for months while I've completely avoided writing anything other than blog posts and preoccupying my mind with television, movies, and books. Unrelated segue...you should watch the "Touch" pilot because it's amazing.
So now that it's almost spring, have I come up with anything?
I think that it has to do with two or even three characters that I stuck into the book that probably take up 5,000 words in the overall story and really have no purpose other than to irritate my protagonist (he finds them annoying). Why would I want extraneous characters? Well the intent is to have them available so that I can explore their potential in sequels. In other words...I have no official plan for them in the book I wrote right now. But having them there with no real plan is possibly behind the derailment of the pacing.
Maybe. That at least is my "idea".
But, I don't want to get rid of them. I like them. I find myself feeling repulsed with the thought of unmaking these fictional people. Especially if I'm wrong. Could I be wrong?
It's always possible.
I wish she was my editor right now but she
probably would charge thousands of
dollars of which neither I or my publisher
could possibly afford. My publisher hires
people with barely a high school education
after they pass a grammar test. I imagine it's the
same with most small pubs (with few exceptions).
So anyway, it has me insecure and apathetic at the same time which is why I sit around watching television and reading books. I think I may start to tinker with it, and see if I can more closely identify what she "sensed" when she herself couldn't precisely identify what was at issue. To clarify a little, my editor is what I call "decent". This is the same word I would use to describe the food at 7-Eleven. You go in, drop a few bucks, get a slice of pizza and some wings and you are good to go.
I honestly wish I didn't have
a "decent" editor right now. I wish I had a no holds barred kick-ass one. A stellar one. One that could eviscerate a manuscript and identify everything that isn't working and wouldn't care about tact. I imagine this glorious person looking like Elektra from Marvel comics, only with huge sharp fountain pens rather than a pair of oriental sais.
To use a food analogy, how would this compare to food from 7-ELEVEN?
Well for one, it wouldn't. That's like comparing frozen dinners to eating at a four-star restaurant.
The kind of help that I imagine Big Six authors get with their books is something akin to a dining experience at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It's fine dining, you get a wonderful experience, blow a few hours with a date, and eat healthy food that doesn't make your skin greasy and has no chance of making you sick. I'm a poor bastard that simply doesn't have access to that and my publisher doesn't have the money to hire that level of talent.
But that is just how the cookie crumbles, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is my insecurity of the month.