Okay, well, we’re beginning to get into a rhythm here. One time I get serious, almost devastating, criticisms from my mentor, to be followed next session by comments like “some good writing here”. March 24 is a time for devastation.
Now the way it should work is that, after each response from my mentor, I get a clearer idea of what my novel needs. Therefore my next submission should show that I have embraced his suggestions and incorporated them into my writing. This is exactly what I have been trying to do. Each time I send my mentor a section now, I very carefully edit it for POV issues, try to expunge from it unnecessary dream sequences or flashbacks, sift it for believability issues and, overall, try to give clarity a very high priority.
Much of my mentor’s objections this time do not surprise me. I have an introduced a new major character and it is not obvious to him why he’s in the story at all. I am quite attached to his character, and he has a story line that parallels the story of Wernher and the astronauts, but does not directly interact with it. My mentor states flatly this will not work. I feared as much. To remove this new character and his associated scenes will mean to cut more than fifteen thousand words from the manuscript. More importantly, it will take away thematic threads quite dear to me. In a way, it will rob the story of its soul. That’s how it seems to me at the moment, anyway.
Finally I am thrown by my mentor’s interpretation of a passage which he reads as meaning that I think the moon landing was a hoax—yikes! How could I have possibly given him that impression? Reading more carefully, I see this may be another case of me just not being careful enough about clarity. Another instance of me writing it as if my story were meant to be a movie. In a movie I could count on the actor’s intonation to let the viewer know I was being sarcastic.
I like to give credit to my readers. I like to assume they will be good at reading between the lines. For the most part however, my mentor has been pushing me the other way—make sure there is no possibility of confusion!