Archive for August 10th, 2010

Chapter 1 is taking a pounding…

It only took a day for the first critique to come back on my first 4000 words. You never know what to expect when someone disects your writing, especially when that person’s new to your work. You hope that you’ve thought of everything, that your writing’s exciting, that you didn’t make any really stupid mistakes, but most of all, you hope that the reviewer will come up with something constructive. It’s nice getting praise for your writing, but at this stage of the game, what really counts (for me) is brutally honest feedback that serves to improve your writing.

This first piece of feedback is amongst the best I’ve ever received for any of my work (thank you Gayle T!)

The usual trips and falls were there in the writing as I expected, but this first chapter was supposed to provide the reader with a hint of Tyler’s (the main character) faith struggle, whilst also showing what sort of performance he provides to his audience. Turns out I didn’t succeed too well, there were other problems, but this was the biggy…

To your everyday skeptic the doubts and questions that plague the believer can appear to have an obvious answer. Here’s a simplistic example:

Q: Why did that person not get healed? A: Because miraculous healings don’t happen in real life.

To the non-religious, this is obvious. To the believer it’s far more complicated – their belief system says that it should happen, and they believe it, because other aspects of their belief system have been validated. They trust it. They have faith in it, despite evidence to the contrary.

The big problem that was pointed out in my opening chapter was that the reader is shown Tyler’s doubts, but they are never shown the foundation of his belief, so they can’t buy into his confusion over those doubts. His faith seems shallow, and he looks stupid.

Fortunately there’s a solution. All I need to do is show the reader how Tyler was convinced, and the reader (hopefully) will follow suit. Looks like I’m going to have to write that prologue after all!