Tough Love

Sorry this is long overdue. Stuff to do, sick at work, writing to do, etc. But, I’ll go ahead and talk about the responses to the portion of “Masked” that I’ve read for group, about 10 pages just before the ending.

The Good

  • The group saw a good crescendo in the tension I was trying to build.
  • People liked the dialogue. It seemed realistic, they said. Script-like with tons of subtext. The way two brothers would talk to each other.
  • Someone commented on certain “little touches” I’ve added, descriptions about what my characters did while talking. (Hey, it’s not for nothing that I read all that Carver, Beattie, and Hempel.)

The Bad

  • I had a scene where the protagonist was listening to one side of a telephone conversation. For one, the conversation was probably too long, since some of the stuff in the conversation was repeated in a subsequent conversation. I got lots of useful suggestions on how to shorten the conversation.
  • A comment was made about the unclear relationship between the protagonist and another character–although I think any confusion would be cleared up if the story was read in toto.
  • I could’ve written a certain flashback scene a little better.
  • Some plot points I included in the back end of the story would probably better off in the beginning.

The Ugly
Okay, maybe these parts weren’t “ugly,” but I felt these comments needed special attention. I haven’t quite figured out exactly how to incorporate these particular changes yet.

  • Someone commented about a scene that takes place in the outdoors. Granted, I didn’t read a section that might have fleshed out a description of the outdoors, but I’ve thought lately to just how much trouble I have writing descriptions. (Call it a consequence of reading all that Carver, Beattie, and Hempel.)
  • Okay, so the story involves an unseen enemy. I thought I could refer to it as such, trying not to resort to stuff like, The Unseen Evil That Must Not Be Named. Now, no one suggested for a minute I do that. But, I could really use some sort of consistent tag to use throughout the story.

Well, I sent the whole 29-page beast to five folks in my writing group. I’ve heard back from one and I’ve got four to go. Then, I’ll edit, then I’ll send it out. Hopefully, this’ll be one I get paid for!