Who Writes the Book?

This is a fascinating, fascinating article on who is to be blamed for problems found in a published book.


Today, while ruminating on "The Limnades," the short story I finished not too long ago, I struck upon an idea that involves changing the roles of three of the characters, and possibly eliminating two others. Instead of starting with two brothers, they would be father and son. The wife of the character who would become the father, would instead become the wife (or girlfriend) of his son. This changes the story's dynamic, but these role changes would absolutely increase the intensity conflict and, hopefully, make this story not just "good," but give it that "irresistible" quality that George Scithers said that one story of mine lacked. The central conflict would remain essentially the same, but these changes would give it more oomph. The problem would become far more important to the father and to his son's wife/girlfriend, and it would make the very last bit of the story more poignant, I think. (There's an interesting twist at the end that was a surprise, even for me, when I wrote the first draft, and I absolutely love it!)

I noticed also — I think this realization came to me yesterday — that as originally written there is an unintended parallel between this story and my relationship with my brother. Now that's the subconscious at work!

EDIT: In fact, as I've been reading Jack M. Bickham's Writing the Short Story: A Hands-On Program, some advice of his — that I've read many times before — really struck home this evening. Perhaps this is because I've had "The Limnades" in mind as I've been reading it, and thinking about his advice and how to apply it to that story. An aha! moment, perhaps? Yeah, I think so. Call it another step in my development as a writer, an instant where my understanding of "story" became more pronounced.

I don't recall where I read it, but I've a memory of some advice that said the time to read how-to books is when you are in the process of writing, but I think, based on today's experience, that they can be valuable when you are in the process of re-writing, as well.

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