I’m starting to get some critical (and constructive) comments on the “Twisted Key” manuscript; the sort of comments every writer needs. Two readers whose opinions mean a lot to me have said they read the manuscript in one (very long, but still one)sitting. It is as fast-paced and gripping a story as I hoped it would be. One of those readers is Kathy O’Donnell at Well Loved Books on south Blanding Boulevard in Orange Park. She told me she started the manuscript early on Monday and finished it before she went to bed.
Another reader told me he just couldn’t put it down, so he kept on reading until he ran out of words.
A local writer, Joyce Davidson, has a background as an English teacher and editor. I met with her the other evening when she hosted a book signing for me in her Historic Grounds bookstore, in Green Cove Springs, Florida. While I was speaking with a few customers she looked over the first chapter of “Twisted Key” and spent the rest of the evening giving me one of the most complete critiques my work has ever had. Joyce deals with style and grammar and pointed out many ways to tighten up my writing and bring out my style, which she enjoys a great deal.
I rewrote the first chapter the next day, using many of her suggestions. What a difference it made!
Thank you, Joyce!
As a caveat to the above, both of the readers I mentioned earlier had already read “The Big Bend and “Hog Valley”. Their reactions to “Twisted Key” can be summed up as “I really enjoyed your first two novels, but ‘Twisted Key’ is the best thing you’ve ever done”.
While I wait for the editors to return the manuscript of “Twisted Key” I am beavering away on my fourth novel, “Lonesome Cove”. To date, I have fifty pages done. In those fifty pages I introduce the main characters and their situations, and begin the exposure of the plot (very, very carefully) by dropping them into it with very little warning.
I have no more idea of where my stories will take my characters than do the characters themselves. I do not, never have and never will use a ‘plot outline’. My stories are no more organized and orderly than my life is. Life is not organized, or orderly. Life is chaotic. Nature, for all of her faults, seems to prefer it that way, and nature, as you might have noticed, is doing just fine, thank you very much.
There is a bit more on reader comments I would like to discuss.
Some have said they really enjoy the level of detail I put into my tales. That detail helps to flesh out the characters and make them come alive on the page.
That’s why I include it.
Others say my stories would be more fast-paced if I got away from all of the detail, which they complain slows the story down way too much for their liking.
There is a happy medium in there somewhere, and I’ll keep trying to find her for you. In the meantime, keep reading and enjoying my novels, and please feel free to email me your comments: email@example.com
Have a good week, and stay safe.