Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The good and the Bad, Part 1

Yesterday I read my first draft of Bad Company all the way through in one day, finishing the last page just as my husband walked through the door. I held up a "Don't Speak!" hand, and he waited patiently as I tried to maintain the ending's emotional mood in my mind for a few more seconds. It's weird living with an author.

The first read-through of a new novel is by far my favorite stage of the process. It's the payoff for weeks of hard work, and though I know that somewhere down the road I'll come to hate it, for one day, I could revel in the feeling of "Wow, I wrote this. I rock."

(I link to old blog posts to illustrate the fact that history repeats itself with each project. If you're a writer and find yourself in one of these stages, rest assured, you're not alone.)

One of the things you look for in a first reading (other than which sections put you to sleep) is a balance of elements. For example:
  1. Does one part of the plot receive emphasis at the expense of others?
  2. Which characters are underdeveloped?
  3. Is the tone consistent throughout?
  4. How come we never found out what was behind that mysterious door in Chapter Six?
Answers:
  1. Oddly enough, the "bad company" of the title turned out to be the least intriguing of all the antagonists. On another level, the title refers to the characters themselves and whether they're bad company for each other. But one can't have subtext unless the text itself makes sense, so I should emphasis the dangerous corporation more consistently.
  2. A couple of the vampire DJs need to break out of their stereotypes. Does the hippie guy always have to be stoned? What if he were never stoned--wouldn't that be more interesting?
  3. It gets more serious as the story progresses. Personally, I like a blend of comedy and drama, but publishers may be confused as to how they would market it. (Try this phrase: "darkly humorous.")
  4. Um, because I forgot about it.
More insights tomorrow.

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3 Comments:

Please don't make the hippie guy stoned all the time. Only Cheech and Chong went through life like that.

Cecilia

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 3/14/2006 11:59 AM

I'm exaggerating. Jim only appears stoned twice. Maybe I'll make it so that he's only stoned when he's working, as if he considers it a part of his job.

As a DJ, it realistically could be. They're not exactly paragons of clean livin'.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 3/14/2006 12:24 PM

OK I'll buy that.

Cecilia

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 3/14/2006 7:26 PM

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