Southern Scotch

Southern Scotch

Sunday, February 10, 2013

On the Fine Art of Self-Surprise

My upcoming spring release is a short novel loaded with plot twists and tricks. Originally called White Knights, this is is the one that agent Henry Morrison once called "Perhaps the greatest Christmas story ever written--but one that can never be published." I've learned a lot about writing since then and, because of what I've learned, I'll be putting out an even better version:  cleaner, clearer, infinitely quicker in its prose.

But something astonishing happened the other night when I was revising one passage. At several points throughout the book we return to the basement, where a man lies trapped, apparently destined to drown. Now, I hadn't reread the book in some time. And I'd hidden the identity of the doomed man so carefully that I couldn't recall, to save my life, which of two men I'd placed there.

The book is now called April Yule. Revisiting, and revising, it has been a great dual adventure:  I've regained the magical sense of fun that possessed me when I wrote the book and I've discovered a new type of fun in revising to enhance the reader's pleasure at each turn. It's all about 'me' in the first draft, for most. But it's got to be all about 'you' at the end.

I think you'll get a kick out of April Yule. Coming soon. Brace yourselves: I've got a few tricks up my sleeves that top the misdirection with the poor guy in the basement.

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