Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Novels are like Newborns

It's been a while since I mentioned NaNoWriMo. I mention it now only to tell you that I've been reading several manuscripts from friends in the writing group for the first time in the years I've been associated with them. (2011 was my fourth NaNo so it's taken me awhile to get where everyone else was on reading and commenting.)

Just a placeholder cover to remind
you guys I've written a book. 
The feedback on The Cold Distance (formerly Juggy & the Duchess, you may recall) has been INVALUABLE. The title had to change because the original smacked too much of humor and the book isn't about humor, never was. It's not lighthearted even though I had intended that when I was thinking about it. When I got into it, it just took on a life of its own and became what it wanted to be. The premise is still there and it's a science fiction tale, to be sure, spanning alien worlds and galaxies and a thousand years. (Originally ten thousand years but that was too far into the future.)

Anyway, the feedback I've gotten has pointed out quite a few things that I was aware of as I was writing and knew that I would have to go back and fix. However, the group who've read it are have noticed a couple of things that I didn't know about: I didn't realize I was avoiding a couple of scenes that need to be there (no spoilers yet) that are important to both plot and character development. There are issues with switching points of view, lots of bad science and issues with how some of the characters age. (Not a spoiler.)

It's all good stuff. It's all given to me with concern for the story and not so much for my feelings. The story matters more than what I think about it. Don't get me wrong, I love this book more than anything else I've written and I want to see my baby get out into the world for others to enjoy. I've been through the birthing process and now I have to nurture it, raise it and let it go to be its own thing. What I'm hearing from my compatriots is that it's a worthwhile project at this point. I am, indeed, a proud Papa.

Sure it's akin to everyone looking at your newborn and saying, "He's got your eyes and your grandfather's chin." I get that. I understand. What's important is that the opinions that are coming back are from people I trust, who will tell me the hard things that no parent wants to hear. "Too much head-hopping", "I don't believe this part" and "Really, what were you THINKING?"

The Cold Distance (and it may be retitled again, so don't get married to it) is the best thing I've written. My focus now is on getting this up to a readable first draft and finding a new group of readers for some more feedback. That should happen in February. My aim for a submittable draft is by May. I need you loyal readers here to hold me to this so I don't get distracted (Oooooh, SHINY!) by holding my feet to the fire.

2012 is off to a great start.


davedehetre said...

seems like you've got a good handle on it! I like the new title, and the cover's both cool and appropriate.

Jason Arnett said...

Thanks, Dave! Loving your new blog, too.