November 1st, 2009

Wishing You Happy Trails

This week I've been talking about finishing a novel, the trials, tribulations, doubts and (occasional) triumphs you may experience along the way. 


I try to


            avoid dead ends




            never lose faith




            stay in touch with the storyline and the inner life of my characters.


This last item is critical. In fact, it's what I'm focused on today.  When I look at my

work-in-progress, I need to ask myself if I really understand what's going on inside my main character's head through the last twenty pages of the novel.


You need somehow to separate yourself from the process of creation long enough to read the thing with an objective eye.  Okay. I know it is impossible to totally separate yourself from a story that came out of your own head, but you need to obtain as much distance as you can to judge if the story works.  


Here are some things to consider:


            1. Look at transitions. – Are there places in which the reader may wonder how the character has moved from the end of one chapter to the beginning of another?


            2. In the process of revising, have you perhaps, inadvertently, dropped a critical piece of information whose absence now creates a gaping hole? (This is where trusted readers provide invaluable assistance.)


            3. If you are happy with your work, send it out! (quickly, before that nasty inner voice start whining about something that is really okay.  Leave it alone. Let go!)


Thank you for reading this week. I wish you all a smooth ride to a happy ending!