Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Left of the Dial: Still In the Oven

I've always thought of myself as a very patient person. My wife even accuses me of being patient. I don't stress out in traffic, I don't need to buy the whatever-it-is right away, and I don't even mind having to stand in a line once in a while.

I always thought that my collectedness applied to my writing as well. However, after posting what I thought was a pretty decent version of Left of the Dial to Triggerstreet, I'm finding out that the opposite is true.

I waited for eight or nine reviews to trickle in -- see, patience -- before I assessed the outcome. I thought the suggested changes would be somewhat minimal, but I was completely shocked to learn that:

1. The story was almost completely devoid of conflict. How the hell did that happen? I thought there was plenty going on in there. However, the overwhelming consensus was that the main character, Tom, had nothing on the line, nothing to fight for, and nothing to lose. And they're absolutely right.

2. The female lead was introduced too late. Yep, I'll give them that one. Jackie, Tom's love interest, doesn't show up until page 40. Too late for the reader to care about what happens with her and waaaaay too late for Tom to hold an interest in her.

In short, I rushed the story, I rushed putting it up on Triggerstreet for review, and as a result, I have critiques on a broken story that should never have been submitted. I've since been amping up the tension and conflict in the story and have vowed not to resubmit it until I've checked it and asked myself, "Why should I care about this?" and "What's he fighting for?"

Thankfully, John August addresses this problem with his usual wit and expertise.