I just returned from a week of fun and sun with my wife’s family. It was the best beach trip I have had with them, and was very restive as well. One thing I did not do, however, was work on the novel very much. I printed up a copy of it and took it with the intentions of reading it, but I got sucked into Wool, by Hugh Howey. I also watched a lot of
Sons of Anarchy.
There were some big developments as far as the novel goes, though! I sent the book out to about twelve people to beta read it and give me feedback. Of those twelve, I expect at least six will actually get back to me. I understand how it goes- you get busy, the book isn’t perfect, it gets replaced in your schedule by other activities.
Honestly, I am just thrilled that a few people have actually got the thing in their hands or on their computer/ipad/kindle!
I did get some great/very useful feedback from one very helpful and prompt reader already. She wrote-
Overall impression: The book is very modern and relevant to the times. This is evident with the global economy. Mining was the livelihood for many communities that have bonded them for generations. Take WV for example. Those people do not want their coal mining taken away due to government regulations. Many of those towns dry up much like Empire. I also like the fact that the story is somewhat semi factual and how the actions of the company affect many. The book reads very quickly and it written in language geared towards the age range of the target audience. The book kinda reminded me of a modern day Stand By Me in a way. Several boys on a journey to save a town…..
She did have a lot of critiques of things that need to be worked on- but they were all things that I can see and agree with. That is a great feeling! I would much rather be able to see and agree with reader criticism. My worst fear is thinking that I have written some amazing work and then having people poo-poo it in ways I simply do not understand.
I have a lot of work to do to get it where it needs to be, but it will come. I have to get school started over the next few weeks, but once that calms down, I will start to whip this baby into shape.
I also started working on a few possible follow-up pieces to write after this novel is done. To be perfectly honest, the style of writing required for Empire is a bit out of my comfort zone. It is a much more literary piece of fiction that I am used to writing. My wheel-house is usually sci-fi/horror/action/adventure. Writing in that style flows much smoother. I get into the zone where pages fly by without me having to stop to think about where the story should go next.
I may run a poll here eventually to see which possible path I should take next, but I may just have to leave it up to where the inspiration is.
Either way, my concentration is getting Empire publisher-ready. I still don’t know whether I will query an agent to find a publisher, or if I will just publish the book myself. That is all kinda beside the point if I don’t have a work that meets the bar of quality I am looking for.
Stand By Me is a pretty huge movie to me, and the short story it is based off of –The Body, by Stephen King- was a story that I love deeply. I didn’t go into Empire with the goal of aiming for that. Really, Holes, by Louis Sachar was more of my target. But, ending up at Stand By Me is enough to make my heart stop.
I would be vastly lucky to end up with a novel even distantly close to the quality of that movie and that story!