And This Is Why I Seek Critiques…

Posted: April 13, 2011 in Jefferson's Road, The Coppersmith, The Writing Life

Real tough critique of Patriots and Tyrants today at my writer’s group. I’m grateful for it. Still reeling, of course, but grateful. Thing is, I knew this going in. I knew this chapter was an info dump, but rather than do something about it, I delayed and chose to let the critique group tear into it.

In all fairness, I’ve received nothing but praise from this group for the last fifty to sixty chapters. I’m deliberately including the chapters from Spirit of Resistance because they were loving the story that far back. So I’m certainly due for a criticism.

Of course, all that previous praise went to my head, and now I’ve got the emotional gunk that comes with a tough review. Not a big problem, though. I’m a big boy. I can handle it (cries into coffee).

The real problem, of course, is figuring out how to fix this chapter. It’s integral to the whole narrative of Jefferson’s Road. Naturally, it’s the chapter on Cultural Marxism, the one that explains the whole justification for the coming war. It’s central to the entire series – if readers don’t understand Cultural Marxism, they won’t understand why the Civil War is necessary (I’m speaking fictionally, of course).  But now I have to find a new way to tell the story of Cultural Marxism without resorting to an annoying info dump.

I’m toying with a prolonged dialogue between Peter Baird and the members of the militia campground he’s just met, which means that not only do I have to rewrite the chapter, I also have to expand  and probably add a new one as well. That’s okay, of course. Patriots and Tyrants feels a little lean right now anyway.

My natural instinct is to cut away what doesn’t work, but this time I genuinely can’t do that. I want this information out there. And the story isn’t quite long enough as it is. So adding is the solution, not cutting. Changing the lecture Peter gives to a dialogue will do that, certainly, but I also have the arduous task of keeping it interesting and active-less cerebral than it is now.

I can do this, but I do feel a little depressed about it right now. Oh well. I’ve got two weeks before the next group. That’s time enough to fix it and print out a new set of chapters.

On a related note, I finished the edits to The Coppersmith yesterday, and I spent the bulk of my morning typing them in. I’d hoped to get the rest of the changes in before the end of today, but it doesn’t look like I’ll make it. Frustrating. Once I finally get all the changes in, I have to find someone willing to give it a read and give me honest feedback. ‘Course, I need the same thing for Patriots and Tyrants, and I can only take two chapters at a time to my crit group. Just not sure who I can go to.

And in my heart, I really just want to spend more time exploring this new world I’ve created and the characters who inhabit it. Editing and rewriting is boring! Oh well. I’ll man up and get it done.

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