Monday, January 27, 2014
You want me to do what?
Okay, back for another go of it. I am going to try to be a little more diplomatic this time about the same subject as the last post. It seems I rubbed a couple people the wrong way. In case you missed it, I wrote about my ongoing problem of my main female character, a single reporter in The Zealot. Without giving much away, she gets involved with one of the lead detectives chasing the killer in the story. This reporter gives our killer a nickname, which the killer loves and begins to call her from time to time. My problem becomes when I do not remain consistent in how she reacts from scene to scene. One time she is strong and the next she is not.
This past week there was a meeting of our group. We are nearing the end of the final time through The Zealot. This meeting was very interesting for me and a great example for this post of what I was speaking of last time and to be used for anyone in a group or to be thinking of putting one together. In my opinion, this is the best way, for me, to have done the editing of this novel. No question about it. I would not have changed it looking back. The quality of the people in our group is incredible. What is the downside? Time. It takes around a year to edit my novel with the group and I have 41 chapters.
I could have gone out and paid someone to professional edit the book and it would have been out there long ago. In the future I just might do that using some of the sales from this novel (Lord willing). If I would have done that, I would never have learned as much about the technical side of writing as I did by being in the trenches all that time fighting for my novel and tearing through other works as well.
Let me go over a couple things from this past week that jumped out at me to use as an example that comes from a yearlong campaign with a group. These are not big things, just things that happen. Things that we all forget about as we go along. 1) My reporter is not new to being a reporter, but is new to the crime desk. This is her first BIG murder and because of the way it has gone, it has gotten national attention. The group I think has forgotten this. He is killing only drug dealers. She named him. She has befriended him and has developed a soft spot and doesn’t want him killed. One of the group doesn’t like the way I have her acting. I have her telling the killer to quit and leave town…give it up. He says this is too soft. A reporter would want him caught. 2) My killer is pretty creepy, but he for sure likes the reporter. A couple of the group members think this guy needs to be over the top with tension nonstop, always nearly getting caught. 3) This next one happens to all of us a lot. My reporter makes a comment to the killer on the phone, saying the people of the city love him and doesn't want to see him hurt. The group, or at least some of them say, “Really? The city loves him? We haven't seen any evidence of it.” How soon they forget. I had dropped in little bits of scenes here and there over time, where talk radio, or editorials from the paper had citizens talking about this killer doing what the police couldn’t or wouldn’t do.
The point is, this is not unique to our group. If you get into a novel or a piece of work that is large, the group is bound to forget things that have happened months before. The bottom line is that what comes out at the end is far better than what went in and that is because of the group itself. We have our differences, but I would not trade this experience for anything. One last point. When you join a group, check your ego at the door. In most of the writing problems you will come across, or the suggestions the others members make about your work, you will find they are right and YOU are wrong.