It was with a great sense of accomplishment that I completed chapter two. I absolutely loved getting in the mind of Mike Hayden, and introducing his thoughts, some of his history, and his pain from the loss of his beloved Camille.
My main character, Treva, was originally supposed to be Mike’s son, but when I sat down to write the story of a father and his two sons, it felt terribly distant from where I wanted to direct the action, and from my own truth. Why would I leave a woman’s perspective out of something I held so dear? Besides, I want to write the kind of story that I would read! The same goes for my intended audience. Not a day goes by that I don’t consider fondly the readers I hope will enjoy my novel.
My husband has openly admitted that he lost much of his interest in my story when Treva took center stage so I was eager to have him read chapter two, because it is Mike’s chapter, “in a man’s words,” so to speak.
He had a number of constructive criticisms. I listened, with the understanding of the story’s complete outline–some things must happen now so that it makes sense later, and I knew which parts I needed to stick up for and which parts were still ripe for reshaping. A story’s beauty is often found in those little seedlings at the beginning which later bloom when the story is fully revealed.
I’m glad I shared it with him, and he had some helpful feedback which I am implementing today. It is extremely valuable (and of utmost importance) to have your work reviewed by a number of experienced writers and editors–and readers. But one’s own spouse can be a tough audience. Or perhaps it’s the criticism that is difficult to receive. Either way, I don’t want my back patted gratuitously, but I do want him to like it.
I’m discovering also that even the best-laid plans leave room for improvement. Like anyone elbows-deep in a story, I think about my characters throughout the day, while in traffic, or while bathing the kids or running errands. As a result, I’m writing additional scenes, and changing the circumstances of my players to increase drama. Next week, I will reorganize all my chapters to include these new revelations, and speed up the action. I know I need to leave a cushion for more inspiration–who knows what new ideas will spring forward as I continue to write?
Have you shared your writing (art, photography, etc.) with your significant other? What was your experience?
Want to read about my process of writing Chapter Two?