Saturday, August 15, 2009

"C" is for...

I've been rereading an old version of a novel I really, really need to sell. (My salesperson friend is giving me all these visualization hints, the "acting as if" advice, and the whole shebang--which I already know how to do!--but that's another post for another time.)

This version is much longer than my present 95K--almost 10K longer (which is, any way you look at it, quite a bit). Some of that 10K extra comes from an extended, and unnecessary, denouement at the end of the book, a habit I've learned since not to do. I mean, we don't really need to sit though reading how our heroine tells our hero all the details of what he didn't know for the first 90K words...we can assume that since our hero and heroine end up getting married, that she probably fills him in on what we've watched unfold! :-)

But some of that 10K comes from extra words that serve another purpose entirely, one I had forgotten about--and one I suspect I shouldn't have.

I spent a great deal of effort cutting and trimming what I thought was "romance speak" from the book in order to make it a straighter thriller, years ago. And, to be fair, while I was writing this BIG version, I was reading a lush historical book, and you can tell a little more "historical speak" crept into this book than should have. But that aside, I was struck when rereading this how many emotionally in-your-face sentences I had utterly discarded...and how many of them I really liked when I read them again.

Sure, I would rephrase them now. I had my heroine asking endless questions before. Was he warning her of a sinister force from beyond...or from himself? Things like that. Endless examples of things like that. Almost--dare we say it?--a book that edges dangerously close to melodrama.

The problem is, now I'm wondering if maybe some of that melodrama was actually something readers enjoyed. Some of it may have enabled a reader to get into character better, to understand where my characters were, what went into the decisions they made and how those decisions cost them...and that when I cut those "excess" sentences, I cut away a layer of emotional painting that might now be making a difference in how this book is being received.

Which, to put it bluntly, ain't great.

And it was better before.

So in the interests of bringing this book to the point where it gets good attention again--where it makes people sit up and take notice more--I'm going to experiment with undoing my cuts, putting some of those sentences back in, and see how I feel about them. Some of them, in present form, are a bit "purple"--but I can fix that. In an effort to make this book into something it probably was never meant to be...I "overfixed" it. So now I get to undo that. Unlearn the subtle. Unlearn the sterile. Unlearn the sparse, and let myself and my readers enjoy, savor, and fret--at the proper time--a bit more.

"C", in some schools of thought, is for cutting. And, make no mistake, this book will more than likely not be 104K anymore. But "C", in my case, needs to stand for compelling. As in what I need to bring this book back into being. As in "getting the feeling back."

And, it is to be fervently hoped, as in finally getting a contract.

Wish me the proverbial writer's luck, I guess....


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just What We Need, Another Crappy Role Model For Young Athletes

This, unfortunately, speaks for itself.

What is depressing--and infuriating--about this is that there's so much pressure on young athletes to do the wrong thing as it is; to have one of the coaches in a major college program, one that kids will certainly look up to, involved in this kind of sordid , sinful nonsense... beyond the pale.

Many people are standing by this coach. Many people will say he did the "responsible" thing by "getting rid of the problem."

They're wrong.

The responsible thing, especially for a man who calls himself a Catholic, would have been to keep his pants on. To remember his marriage vows. And not to compound the sin by adding murder to the rap sheet.

I hope this guy gets booed from now until the end of the year. Forgiveness? Christian charity? A spirit of mercy?

Not until I see some evidence of genuine repentance here. I don't. And the university, by demanding no further accountability of him, only reinforces the notion that there's nothing for him to repent of.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Cardinals.
There have got to be better men out there to let your babies play for.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

And Then They Wonder Why People Don't Read Anymore...

From Publisher's Lunch:

Gotham Chopra's SPIRITUALITY FOR DOGS, written with his father, Deepak Chopra, pitched as Tuesday's with Morrie meets Marley and Me, a moving conversation between a father and son on the spiritual lessons we can draw from our dogs, their loyalty and instincts in particular, and Gotham's effort to find resonance in the teachings of his father so that he may be able to pass them onto his young son, to Brenda Copeland at Hyperion, in a good deal, by Robert Gottlieb and Eileen Cope at Trident Media Group.

I know it's considered bad manners to complain about agents, editors, or the like passing on your work...but it must be said, Trident passed on my novel a year or so ago. I guess it's my bad not to realize that a romantic suspense novel with a heck of a paranormal element to it couldn't possibly hold a literary candle to Gotham Chopra's DOG.

Silly me. Shoulda had the cats write it.