Friday, March 17, 2006

The good and the Bad, Part 2

(I wrote this post last night before getting feedback from one of my toughest readers, who thought it sounded just fine. So obviously my negative feelings stemmed from a combination of perfectionism and desensitization to the material. But I'll post it anyway, so you can see the haunting uncertainty that plagues every writer when it comes to evaluating one's own work.)

Wherein I continue discussing my initial impressions of Bad Company's first draft. Back to our regularly scheduled program...

My main concern is the artificiality of the voice in the first few chapters. This is a really common problem for beginnings--we don't yet know the character/narrator well enough to speak their voice clearly and distinctly, so it often comes out derivative or imitative of other works.

I don't even remember whether I knew that the protagonist was a former con artist when I wrote Page One back in July. All I had was a concept:
Young woman gets job with radio station where all the DJs happen to be vampires--vampires stuck forever (culturally, linguistically, and fashion-wise) in the time in which they were created, the time corresponding to the music they play.
I also had a general style (chick-lit) in mind. The novel became so much more than the original concept, I'm happy to say, but now I have to inject those first few chapters with the layers of style and meaning that the rest of the book holds.

Hard to do when you've read, rewritten, and polished that puppy* a hundred times to submit to a publisher. It's as if every word is etched in granite.

Maybe the whole thing should be rewritten from another approach.

Yeah, right. Not in this universe.

As I've said before, that's why beginnings are so scary.

*"Polishing the puppy" sounds vaguely lewd

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