Dropping a Little Magic

I can hardly believe it, but last week I finished The Magician. As for my monthly goals, I didn't quite hit 60k, but I tend to expand with revision, then aggressively cull. The Faithful, for instance, started at 67k, dropped to 54k, and, over the last several revisions, worked its way up to 85k. At one point, the novel was split into two but that's a different story. One that I'm pretty sure I've gone into in the past. If not, just let me know and I'll regale you with a tale.

On The Faithful front, I talked around it on my last post, but I received a rejection on my last full that was out. There were some choice quotes, one of which was "as I read I found myself thinking 'so what?'" Obviously this stung, just a little. The agent did follow it with encouraging words, but one thing distinctly missing: how far she read.

I immediately responded, thanking her for the critique and asking her the burning question. Thankfully, she got back to me in a few days and told me it was about 10% (once again that number), which would sit around 8 to 10 chapters in (out of 95). She hit on a couple questions I had, but she did make sure to mention that "the writing itself was strong and interesting." It all came down to a detached reading experience.

So, in my quest for the ever elusive Beta Readers, I've got one editor reading the book (only for content), two authors reading as much as they can, another author reading the first twenty pages, as well as three friends with the complete manuscript. Hopefully out of all these people I'll get some decent feedback. While my critique group was instrumental in getting the manuscript to where it's at now, they also know way too much about the story itself. What I need is more of a fresh perspective on how it plays out, whether it works in the form that it's in or if I need to add a lot more to the individual characters.

One thing that has marked my writing in the last several years is that I prefer characters that are more subdued, less willing to indulge in artificial information. In other words, if my character has no respect for you, he will not spare you a second thought. If you check out my first page, you'll see this in practice. Unfortunately, the feedback I've got from most people (who don't realize what I'm going for) is that they want to know what he thinks of the character. Maybe I've gone too sparse. It is a distinct possibility.

I do have one author I'm waiting to hear from. We briefly discussed doing a novel swap, but I'm waiting on editing one of my novels until I figure out if this is going to happen. I've got two that I can hard edit while letting the Magician simmer. But I'd hate to start one and then have someone else's work postponed (or, worse, lose the groove on my own).

Over the next few days, I'll get a page up for the Magician. I might even spend some time and rework my novel pages so that they're more like the base Novels tab, so people can just directly to the Excerpt and read the opening pages. So, in other words, a lot of small things to do with a swiftly approaching tiny person looming over everything I do. 

Art by Grizoart


Justin D. Herd

Justin D. Herd is a purveyor of the weird and strange. He occasionally squawks at friends and family, but does so only under the cover of night. Okay, that's not true. He squawks in full daylight. Drinking games have been built around his peculiarities, but the truth of it is this: he is a loving husband, with two wonderful dem--children. One growls at things he likes, including pretty women. The other has started to learn hand-eye coordination. Neither had made it to the tender age of three. From there, things will only get more interesting. He spends most of his writing time either at a coffee shop or sitting at one of his many desks around his house. Any other place makes it nearly impossible for him to write. He uses horror movies and rock music to help get the juices flowing. His favorite authors are Jeremy Robert Johnson, Alan Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Justin Cronin, and Patrick Rothfuss. He consumes most of his books through audiobooks, but still loves his personal library and getting lost in the printed word.