Friday, October 3, 2008

Hard At It

So, the first of my three betas gave the revise and resubmit version of my novel the once over. She's a reader more than a writer and has the equivalent of degrees in psychology, history, and God bless her, accounting. (To me, any math is more terrifying than Godzilla, up close and personal.) She cut ALL the paranormal elements in the novel.

Why, you ask? Even though I come from a region of the country that thrives on all things paranormal, Mumsy Dawg thinks that my presentation of things that go bump in the night is cliched. Would I like to believe that what I have to offer is new and fresh? You betcha, but if the first dawg in my pack thinks it's cliched, I have to pay attention.

I write in the literary genre. Can't help it. That's me. My efforts to cross over into the paranormal haven't reached her, haven't caused her to sit up and take notice. I'd like to say that I can write in any genre. Some can. Apparently, I can't. She's a trusted member of my pack, and gosh-darn-it, she's never been wrong before. I read and reread her comments and although I weep copious tears, "Out, OUT, dear darlings."

Mumsy Dawg works in purple. My manuscript is covered in long, deep purple marker. I weep and moan. I grimmace with pain, but I make the cuts. It's still my story, still my book, but a review of the version in which her edits have been made offers a clearer picture and more finely honed dialogue. She was right after all. I loved all those paranormal darlings, but without them, I'm inching toward a real story, what Hemingway called the Iceberg Theory of Literature. It's all there, the clues rising above the waves but the gist of it all floating just beneath the surface.

First lesson in working in groups: Learn to kill your darlings, a phrase often used by the Big Dawg. Keep it in mind. What you love in your work might very well be what's standing in the way of the story, and the story is the thing to grab the conscience of the .... in this case, agent!

1 comment:

Gini Koch said...

Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science? :-D

Still proud of you for all the darling killing. It's one of the hardest things we do as writers, but one of THE most necessary.

And you do it well.