Yikes! Is it Monday already? How did that sneak up on me…
Well, there’s no reason to stall this – it’ll hurt just as much now as it will later – so I’ll just give it to you all straight up: I’ve decided to put Devil’s Blood, and the seven book series it would ultimately be a part of, to rest.
Yup! The long sleep-a-ru. Burying that sucker. Ripping out its heart and putting it through the shredder. Setting it out to sea to make fish food. Yes, I will stop beating my dead horse.
You might be thinking this change of heart is sudden. I mean, didn’t I just announce I would self-publish my book this year? Didn’t I put it on the calendar? Didn’t I contact a cover artist and get a quote for an awesome drawing? Hadn’t I lined out an editor?
Well, yeah, that’s, ahem, actually is, um, kind of why I’m here. Kind of.
When I first asked someone to read my novel, I picked a good writer-friend. He was ‘good’ in the sense that I liked him and he liked me. We participated together on some contests. I helped with his novel, so he helped with my novel. Neither of us really knew what we were doing, but we did know enough to encourage the hell out of each other. The second batch of beta-readers were no different, as were the third batch.
Through it all, not one beta-reader thought the book was great without major revisions to character development. I tweaked my manuscript here and there, thinking I was responding to each of their concerns, but in the end, I wasn’t.
Why not? I’m not entirely sure, but I think it is because I do not want to change my characters. In my head, they are who they are, and to change the nature of their character doesn’t seem right. I believe this is a newbie thing. I’ve gotten so attached to my characters that I see them as my babies, and, well, I wouldn’t tell my children to change so they could be more interesting? Would I? I love them just the way they are!
But…just because we laugh when little Emma makes those funny farting noises doesn’t mean we let her do it in public.
My characters are not public-friendly. Folks find them boring because they are passive. I need to write better characters, and make my plots character-driven and not a series of events.
I thought I was doing that. I really did, but in the end, I allowed my characters to just be who they are. I didn’t create them. They came to me out of the ether and I just used them as they presented themselves. It sucks when there’s no captain sailing the ship.
To say that I was surprised that an experienced editor would point out the obvious would be disingenuous. I suspected she would say exactly the things everyone else pointed out. Though I could see the writing plainly on the wall, I kept looking the other way, hoping someone would come along and move the words around for me.
Well, folks, there ain’t no one who will do that for you. At least, now I can face that Andreas’ story is a failure as a salable piece of fiction. I suppose it does work on some level, and it has been a huge learning experience for me, but it is not a commercially viable piece of fiction.
So what am I going to do now, you might ask?
I don’t know. There’s Clarion West. I’ve always wanted to take part in an intensive writer’s workshop. I can’t imagine getting the time off to do that, so I might have to settle for taking a class locally. There is a local writer’s workshop that I have meant to join, but haven’t because I figured I didn’t have time – I had a novel to finish! But, well, maybe I do have time now. As a matter of fact, I’ll make time.
My goal is to concentrate on short stories. Maybe after I complete a few good short stories, I’ll have the skills to create engaging characters with adventures to tell.