Reflecting on My First Book
I began my writing adventure on March 12, 2016 and published Interviewing Immortality May 22, 2017 on Amazon. I later put it on Kubo and Barns Nobel. The reviews have generally been positive and people encourage me to continue.
In this blog, I wanted to take a step back and ponder the original story. In case you have not purchased this well-written novel, I will provide a short summary:
James, a published author is spending his Saturday afternoon at a book signing. Towards the end of the day, a striking woman walks up to him, stares menacingly into his soul and announces, “You will do.” Without another word, she walks away. James is stunned by the unexpected encounter; yet has no idea how very much his life is about to change.
After the book signing, as James walks back to his car, he suddenly finds himself kidnaped by none other than this overpowering woman who calls herself Grace. He comes to understand that this callous event serves as his introduction into the unscrupulous life of his captor. James has been targeted to pen a harrowing account of this astounding woman’s preternatural past. In unraveling the layers of her destructive life, James is compelled to confront his own life choices.
What do people think of my work? The main negative feedback revolves around the torture scene. I set the tone at modestly frightening and I kept the gore to a minimum. The scene’s impact came from the feelings: “I was deflated, weak, confused, and tired, and I desperately wanted to get out of the wooded area. The body still twitched, but now in a slow, withering way. The sight sickened me, and I wanted to throw up. I knew Gerald was dead. Nobody could survive a cut like that to the neck.” At the time, I felt it mild in comparison with other books and movies. However, I respect people’s beliefs and values. Perhaps I made it too gory. As a result, I toned down the gore and violent descriptions, in the sequel.
The other negative feedback revolves around “redundant” characters. I never got a clear definition of the term “redundant.” However, I believe it refers to my tick of saying something in one sentence and saying it again in the next. I am working on altering my writing style to compensate.
I recently read a negative review that didn’t like the conclusion. I think they wanted more closure. But that is what sequels are for.
Another concern from readers is that the story has been done. An author is forced to write a book; how unimaginative. Did I come up with that idea sitting in front of my computer trying to think up a plot? Readers want to compare my story to the novel Misery by Steven King.
Misery is a kidnapping horror story and my story explores an amazing woman’s life from the perspective of a disgraced author. I respect the reader's initial beliefs that the stories seem similar. I would like to remind people that it’s difficult to come up with something completely new. For example, many people feel Star Wars is based on the movie Once Upon a Time in the West. Personally, I see absolutely no relationship. When Harold Ramis wrote the movie Ghostbusters, he had been completely unaware of the unpopular show “Ghost Busters.” Or did he secretly use that miserable show as inspiration?
From a personal perspective, the most frustrating aspect of this book has been attempting to market it. The challenges to get the word out are extremely difficult. Of course, that result is to be expected. Marketing requires natural ability, experience, research, effort, connections, and luck. Of those requirements, I possess 10% effort and little else.
On the positive side of my writing experience, I received several touching positive reviews/messages from readers and each one of them made me feel wonderful. Granted, I would like to see hundreds of positive reviews, but it’s going to be a long process.
In 2016, I didn’t have a lot of writing experience and my ability has since evolved. With this improvement, I am able to reflect on my original work. There are indeed areas I would change if I could go back in time. My style, editing, organization, clean up and error/fact checking have improved. Readers are able to accept a “raw” story. They can appreciate a few imperfections and they understand that a first book is bound to have issues. As this novel is electronic, I am able to revise it. At this time, I don’t believe a new round of editing is necessary.
In taking a high-level view with my improved writing abilities, I feel my original work stands on its own. Why? My main characters are very contrasting. A low life author and a fantastic paranoid psychotic killer with unlimited resources. They explore her life from the odd perspective of an author that cannot be honest with himself. That is a good unique combination of people and a unique plot.
As I presently edit the sequel, I often need to read parts of Interviewing Immortality to get the facts correct. The story still reads fresh and I marvel at my insight. Writing the sequel also allows builds on the foundation of the characters and the plot.
Overall, I believe I made the correct choice to start writing. I continue to appreciate the plot and I like the characters. The choices I made continue to be validated and as I reread the book, the plot remains solid. I have pride in what I created and I like hearing positive comments. Sometimes, we take a leap and land somewhere special. For me, that turned out to be writing.
You’re the best -Bill
June 26 2019
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