since I last posted, some incredible things have happened.
The Amazon “Breakthrough Novel Award” officially began February 16th at midnight, and at 12:01 I had my manuscript submitted.
It’s been polished and edited more times than I ever thought it would be, but I know each successive edit is only improving my work. After having some peers read through it, I’ve taken some of the their suggestions and I’m implementing a few changes.
I’m struggling a little about where to draw the line on PG versus R. It’s not exactly a children’s book, it’s written well above what most kids read these days, but I still entertain the idea that it’s going to be a book that young people want to read. Especially my own children, someday.
With that in mind, I’m considering the comments of readers who so far say they feel like it needs more “sex, drugs, and violence”—in the words of my best friend. Drugs is a moot point, I don’t really think that’s as tangible a component as, say, sex or violence is. And there’s considerable violence towards the end of the book. However, I’d feel more comfortable adding more action scenes than I would adding a sex scene. Which is confusing, actually, because it seems rather odd that as a culture, we’re more accepting of someone murdering someone else, than we are of them sharing love together. Why is that, exactly?
In any case, I grew up on a lot of classical mythology, and while sex was certainly featured, it was always portrayed in a sort of antiseptic kind of way. Nothing gratuitous, nothing implicit. I’ve read lots of books that handle it in many different ways. It’s never something that draws me to a book though, and personally, the less of it there is the better. I always feel like it’s a little unnecessary, sort of thrown in for cheap thrills. Basically, sex isn’t why I read. But if it has to be there—and don’t get me wrong, I understand it needs to be sometimes, and that’s it’s a big part of everyone’s life—then there are better ways of handling it than others.
One of the best scenes I can recall reading was one in “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, by Hemingway. The two main characters make love in the forest, and… you never really get a distinct description of what they’re doing. Hemingway describes the feelings, the emotions, the repetitive motion of diving headlong and losing yourself in something that’s bigger than you or your lover. That seemed like the best way to handle it to me, very poetic, very clean, and still very powerful.
But I digress.
I’m wrangling with the idea of adding more of a love interest, is the bottom line, but I’m still conscious of who I’m writing this for and what my children might think when they read it. But honestly, do I want them to be more tolerant of violence and murder, or of love?
So for now, I’m coming up with another action scene to tuck between these two chapters to sort of help the reader through a dialogue, character driven portion of the story. That’s all well and good. And I don’t think it needs to be too long. Once I finish, I can update my submission on Amazon, and no harm done. I’m still in the contest now, but I if there’s still a chance to improve my book? Why not take it.
The other good news is that my book will soon be on sale. I’m still toying with the final edits, but I’ve already got a team reviewing it for submission through Amazon’s “Create Space” website, and within a week or two, you’ll be able to buy your very own copy of “The Sovereign”, in paperback or e-book. I’m so excited it’s stupid. On a side note, I’ve met two people who couldn’t figure out how to say “sovereign”, so I hope that’s not a sign of things to come, but hey, if you can’t figure out how to pronounce it, you’re probably not my audience anyways.
I’ve still got a lot of work to do as far as marketing myself and my book, but I have a good feeling that when July rolls around and the Amazon contest is over, I won’t have to worry about selling my own book anymore.
So until then, I’m going to hammer away at book 2, and try to get that ready to go and up for sale before the end of the year. This first book took me almost seven years to finish, but I think now that the groundwork is laid, I can move on to the joy of simply writing, and it won’t take too long to get done.
Thanks for your support and following my journey. I’ve still got a long way to go, but it helps to know that I’m in good company.