into the woods…

While waiting for the critiques of my manuscript, I’ve been venturing into the woods of my next book…considering characters and their motivations…daydreaming about plot paths… I’m trying to keep things casual; it’s not time for me to telling any tales about these people yet. But I’m dropping breadcrumbs to make sure I can find my way back when it’s time.

Meanwhile a second critique (thank you H—-) of my manuscript has arrived! Another very thoughtful and thought-provoking critique. I have such freakin’ smart readers helping me here. I obviously still have some work left to do on the book, but both of the test dummies readers who’ve finished the book have given me some great ideas of how to improve the novel. Yeah!

One of the things that I’ve discovered is that creating an unreliable first person narrator is tricky. When the character’s actions don’t really mesh with her inner thoughts, it can make the character’s voice feel uneven. Here she’s thinking she’s so tough, and then in a fight with her boyfriend she doesn’t act very tough.  Hmmmm….  The problem is, that’s what I want, but I want the reader to understand that she’s unreliable, not think that I just don’t know what the hell I’m doing (which may well be the case, but I don’t want the reader to know that.)

Several writers I admire make creating an unreliable narrator look easy, but here I am discovering that it’s more difficult than it seems. Reader H—- (Goldilocks) found that in some scenes the protagonist was tooooo tough, but in other scenes she was tooooo soft.  Now I just need to pay attention to the scenes that were baby-bear juuuust right so I can fix the others. I can do this…as my late father would tell me, “That’s no hill for a stepper.”

And so I searched for Goldilocks on youtube and mostly came up with exactly the lame videos you’d expect…except I also foud THIS!

See…I KNEW there was a reason I needed an iPhone!

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3 thoughts on “into the woods…

  1. You seem to be a much better sport about criticism than I am. I mean, I think I handle it okay, but I certainly don’t exclaim, “Yeah! People thought there were bad parts of my manuscript!” I tend to grumble and sulk and then maybe a month later I begrudgingly edit. It’s fun being me!

    I’m going to start writing the fourth (and final!) book in my series this week. I’m pretty stoked about it. It’s going to be amazing to finish it.

    About the video. As much as I enjoyed all the shots of the woman’s bouncing breasts (and I did! I really did!) I couldn’t help but wish she for her sake that she had a more supportive bra.

    • ha! I thought the same thing about that woman’s boobs–for heaven’s sake, get her a sturdier bra!

      Well…thankfully both the readers seemed to give me a large amount of positive remarks to soften the criticisms. And to be frank there are some areas in the book that I feel don’t work as well as other spots, but at this point I’m too familiar with the book to really trust my judgement. Having someone say, “this bothered me here” is almost a relief–at least it helps me put a shape on the vague sense of uneasiness I felt about some scenes. Now if only they would tell me exactly how to fix them….

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