Saturday, 17 March 2007


So now I am back in limbo and it is a cold and hopeless domain.

The Commuters is out there with two agents.
But it doesn't work.
How have I forged the bond between reader and Corus?

Corus is persecuted and plagued by a dark entity that lives in his soul.
Corus is motivated by immortality: he wants to share his creativity with the world; he wants to spread peace and happiness. Corus was bullied.
Not as easy to grasp as a woman who is raped and beaten and forced to live on the streets and work as a prostitute.
Not as easy to grasp as a man who is down on his luck and works long hours in a job he detests.
Here I fail (although not entirely) because Corus' motivation and anguish are too unusual to easily share.

Corus loved and misses his mother and sister. His friends are similarly persecuted/alienated from society.
Aileen loves Selby and would do anything for her. Her friends are outcasts.
Travis wants to protect a young hooker and free her from her captivity and sleazy life. His friends are oddballs and outcasts. They share his despair.
Here I have some success.

How is humanity initially depicted?
The people Corus meet are depicted as irrational and rude and greedy and without dignity or morality and, in a few instances, violent.
In Monster, the people Aileen meet are abusive and violent and intolerant. They are from all walks of life and all, fundamentally, self-serving.
In Taxi Driver, Travis is angered by the pimps and murderers and scum of humanity on the sreets of New York.
So, again, I fail. To paint others as irrational or thoughtless has nowhere near the power as painting them as killers or rapists. Here we can see how plot exists to serve character: Both Aileen and Travis are thrown into situations where the worst of humanity can be experienced. I have seemingly crowbarred this stuff into my plot; I have forced myself into this situation by placing Corus in a lovely cottage and a job at a beautiful university.
Corus sees the worst of humanity in the city and on his commutes. I have an amount of success here, but nowhere near enough.

So where to go now?

The Commuters is going to need a major overhaul. It's a mahoosive job and likely an impossible one.
So I walk away for now.
I've been looking over my first two novels.
I rewrote the intro to my first novel - Tethered Light. The plot is sound, the characters are great fun, there's regular conflict and action and there's a countdown ... I got it to a pretty sturdy position. But the writing is filled with adverbs and tells - everywhere. Might not be such a big job tidying the first few chapters and polishing my new intro (which has multiple countdowns and seven - yes seven - plot cookies [almost as many as the opening to Raiders of the Lost Ark!]). They say that one should never return to one's first manuscript. I'm torn.
My second novel, An Angel's Canvas, opens well, and it is still out there with one agent. Again, some of the writing is weak, and I never wrote past chapter four. But I do have a 10,000 word chapter-by-chapter outline and the story is crammed full of cookies, twists and turns, reveals, reversals, and so on. Might be worth writing a little further into it and sending out.

The alternative is to start from scratch, and that idea is terrifying.
Didn't someone say that one only improves by making mistakes?

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