April 27, 2013

I'm reading Xmas Carol

It's strange to read your own book. After agonizing over every word during the editing process, I'm now sailing through the chapters of "Xmas Carol" as a reader. Doing this feels quite odd. Here are my impressions so far.

It was a strain for me to provide a "backstory" for the characters. I'm fine when the story's moving along, when I'm writing a scene with action and dialogue and I'm pushing the plot forward. Something's moving in those scenes; the words seem natural and alive. But telling the backstory for a character is more of a recitation: this happened and that happened.

As a writer, I don't like doing this. I have to become the omniscient overseer, the one who knows all, to reveal a character's history. This rubs me the wrong way. So I find the initial chapter a bit stilted. I was executing a requirement of storytelling rather than telling a story.

But as soon as the story gets going -- which happens late in the first chapter -- the tale flows. I'm pleased with the dialogue, descriptions and movement. They seem natural and free -- and much more graceful than the backstory segments that precede them.

I wish there was no need to reveal a character's history. In my earliest drafts, I tried to skip this. But readers told me they wanted to know why a character did a certain thing, which meant they wanted to know more about the character's history. Grudgingly, I supplied this information. I'm not sure how, but in my next book I will deal with this in a different way.

Anyway, this is all beside the point. The book works and I'm enjoying it. Once things get going, the story has a life of its own. It seems fresh and suspenseful. I'm quite pleased.

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