The Fifth

I had a good laugh when I read the following survey comment in regard to the main character, Anna. “…she has the rebelliousness of a teenager and you feel like giving her a good slap straight off the mark for being so angsty. She’s already pushing the limits to see what she can get away with. Typical Adolescent.”

Exactly, kind reader. Exactly what I was aiming for. Can we not relate in one aspect or another?

I also liked the critique from this same person when they wrote that they would read my book but…

“I think I might struggle to get into it based on this excerpt. It seems a little stilted, like it knows where it wants to go and wants to say but its got a bit of stutter so the flow is not 100% there.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you! How enlightening to read that there’s the feeling that the book wants to point in a certain direction but it’s awkward.

I’m wearing my spectator-spectacles these days and I can clearly see where I’ve gone wrong with the beginning. It’s almost laughable. When I reread what I‘ve written, I find myself cringing. How could I have not seen the awkwardness? How could I have wondered, even for a second, what was wrong with it?

I have spent quite a few days laughing at myself since the onset of this project. I feel both foolish and comical–as if I should have known the real problem once I received that first agency rejection. It all comes down to complicating the story more than it needed to be complicated.

I have a grand scheme for Anna Ellins and by the end of the book, you understand the need for formality. But I expected readers to patiently sludge their way through the muddy outline of my medium in order to reach the climatic moment when it all comes together.

If a writer doesn’t have a stellar beginning, it’s creative suicide to expect an audience to stick it out. This is an audience who is busy not only with their professional life but with walking the dog, drinking a cup of coffee before the bus arrives, quickly scanning the paper during a five minute break at work…and all the things that fill their lives until they’re brimming and brewing at mach speed and they barely have time to enjoy leisure reading…much less the works of a writer who is unable to write an attractive, coherent beginning.

So I return to my keyboard, bound and determined to find, and rewrite, *the* beginning.

Published in: on January 5, 2010 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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