Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Axed the Journal Format

Having heard back from all critiquers of my YA novel, I have gone ahead and cut the journal format from the book. To those who haven't read it, this means little to you, but I'll speak in generalities the rest of the way to make this more accessible.

The reason I made the change is twofold. First, and most importantly, I always had issues with it, and if there's anything I've learned it's that when I've got reservations about something in my story I'm usually right. A lot of times I refuse to listen to my gut for all sorts of bad reasons, (my ego being one) and stuff I know doesn't work stays in the story for far too long.

Which brings me to reason number two. A number of those who read the novel shared their concerns over the format. When I put this together with reason number one, it becomes pretty evident that there's a problem. My experience with critiques is that, with very few exceptions, the concerns readers have are the same ones I have but have been too stubborn (or scared or self-delusional or all sorts of other stupid emotions that get in the way) to remedy. I'd say 90 percent of the time a reader's concern affirms what I already deep down knew to be true.

So the journal format goes, and getting rid of it was much easier than I expected, both emotionally and physically (I probably deleted a total of a thousand words is all). And even though I had to take out a couple of pretty sweet lines, the book is stronger for it.

Now I've just gotta figure out a plot.


Monica said...

Well, i liked the journal format, but i was i was just one among many. sigh. s'aright, do what you want.

oh hey, get this... i can't access this site from work anymore. Apparently it falls into the category of "entertainment". obviously the internet ninjas haven't actually read it.

Heather Lane said...

I had mixed feelings about it. I'm glad you are following your instincts.

I'm putting up the interview now.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

That sucks because I really dug the journal format. I thought it was clever, though done before, and now I'm not sure why Fin is telling this story. Before, he had good reason, now I'm not so sure. Like Heather said, follow your instincts, you're the creator.

Monica - LOL, ninjas!

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Good one, Monica.

Tina Lee said...

I think you could have made it work, but sometimes it's a relief to let go of the part of a project that you have been struggling with. Thanks for the update. It has been interesting hearing you process all the various feedback and make changes.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

I might have made it work, but my reasons for keeping it couldn't compete with the logic of getting rid of it.

I may elaborate later. For now, off to teach!

Anita said...

I think journal formats are lazy (and I wrote a book that way myself). They allow us all sorts of shortcuts, but end up hindering us in the long run. Like Slim Fast.