Sunday, October 15, 2017

Well, I like the book.

So I sat down with the manuscript of "Takeover" and drank a little wine last night.

My biggest insight wasn't about the contents of the book, but how to present it. I need to make an effort to interest the publisher, not--as I am wont to do--just sending it in and saying, "Here it is."

I really need to work on the cover letter and then try to write a good synopsis.

Other than that, I didn't make too many changes to the second draft of the book.

I took a later action scene and inserted at the beginning of the book as a flash-forward. Which then necessitated that I put a timeline in, which I did.  (Previous blog post: I'd already done that in an earlier draft, but in the process of moving chapters around, I'd messed that up. I'll need to go through it one more time to make sure it all tracks.) The event went from being about six weeks long to four weeks, which I think is an improvement, actually. ("Three Days of the Condor" was originally "Six Days of the Condor" heh.)

I added a few details from my trip to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Other than that, I just sort of dipped into the book at random throughout the night and checked the writing, which can always, always, always be improved. I never read a page without finding something to change, but that never ends and it gets to a point where I'm not absolutely sure I'm improving things. Dangerous to keep refining until it smudges the original creative burst.

The book is now 92,000 words and I probably shouldn't make it much longer. I could probably reach 100,000 but that's a bit stiff for a 'beginner' thriller writer.

About that 'thriller' thing. I'm not sure that's what this is. In the first version, the first half was, if I can use this word, a regular novel, but the second half was definitely thriller territory. This new version is much action oriented and the sequence of chapters are much more forward leaning.

It's still a bit "awkward," but I think that's the nature of the book. Reflecting the"reality" aspect of the story.

What I'd say about this book is that it has "substance." I like the characters, the premise, the plot, the writing.

It ran into some criticism, but I'm not sure if that was because it had more problems than some other books I've done or because people, at this point in my career and because I kept asking for it, whether people were more willing to be critical.

Thing is, this is the book I wanted. It turned out really well, in my opinion. Of course, I always wish I was smarter, deeper, and more insightful, more talented, and I believe this book had huge potential if I was a genius, but I am what I am and the book is my book to do, and I think I pulled it off better than I'd ever thought I could.

There aren't any false notes for me. It all rings true, and that's the true test for me. Whether I believe the characters and scenario.

I think the odds are long of it being accepted, but I'm going to try. If it comes back to me, I'll probably set it aside for a time and come back to it again later. There is enough substance to this book that I could probably do that for years.

For the first time, I don't really know what I'm going to write next. I think I'm going to do another "Hart Davis Strawberry Mountain Mystery" like "Deadfall" this one called "Butcher's Cut."

It's a bit silly to write a sequel to an unsold book, but my creative mind doesn't work like that. It wants to write what it wants to write. I like the characters and the setting and the premise so I'm going to take a couple more stabs at it.

1 comment:

Dave Cline said...

Next? Well, I hope you have a plan...

What about a Louis La'mour type story? But set in the old Oregon West, Oregon Trail kind of thing? There's a rock out there somewhere, a thing people scratched their names into. That'd be interesting to write about -- like your Donner stories, but without the fantastical.

If you haven't read Astoria, I suggest it. The Snake/Mad River tale is telling. If you told a quasi-historical tale, with drama and conflict thrown in, but accurate events and locations, I bet you might make a name for yourself -- in addition to the one you've already made...

But, you know, a plan... right?