Sunday, May 16, 2010
I did it! I wrote the last word of the last chapter of my 90,000-word novel, NICE GIRLS DON'T BITE, and a pretty good chapter it was, I said to myself. I triumphantly sent the final chapter to my writers group. When we met, they went over the chapter bit-by-bit, as was their habit. Then, they leaned back, and said, "Let's look at the book as a whole." Their collective opinion was that (1) The book had no red herrings, no surprises, the desired object, the MacGuffin for you Hitchcock fans, was evident from the first, and therefore boring. (2) My villain was not villainous enough. (3) My climactic scene was unbelievable and unexciting. You know how sometimes you need someone to point something out before you can clearly see what you have been seeing all along? As they pointed these things out, my mind was flooded with thoughts of "They're right! They're right!" My next thoughts were "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" I raced home with these concrete guidelines for making the book much better.