Thank you to all those who sent prayers and good wishes my way last week. They must have worked; my first biopsy came back benign. I feel very blessed. One more to go then I’ll be free and clear. Right now, I’d like to get onto more serious writerly endeavors. With all the upset and turmoil in my life lately, I fear I’ve let my blogging duties fall by the wayside. This is my lame attempt at making up for that.
I recently received a critique from a fellow writer, someone I admire and respect for his mad writing skillz. He gave me a great deal of feedback, and I’ve been busy making revisions based on his recommendations. I am actually shocked what he was able to pull out of me.
About one third of the way through my manuscript, after my male protagonist does a very, very bad thing, my critique partner commented that it would be very difficult for him to feel sympathy for that character any longer, that although he sees how circumstances pushed him towards his actions, it just might be too much and he might not ever like him again. But was willing to read on and see.
I’m glad he was willing, and I assured him I did my best to change the reader’s mind. In the end, he said that I managed to pull it off after all, that he did come to care for the main character, that he wanted to see him atone for his sins, and he did. Congratulations, he said.
Whew! What a relief! But even after all the praise he gave me throughout, I’m still worried, because what if an agent reads through that part then gives up? What if he or she is not willing, does not believe I can make the character atone and redeem himself? I mean, that’s the whole trick of the book, the reason I wrote in the first place.
Now, my writing is in no way eloquent like my last CP. I don’t lay claim to that particular skill. But what I do think I did, and reasonably well, is take the reader on a crazy wild ride through turmoil and bedlam. I made my champion suffer then turned him into an anti-hero and raked him over the coals for it. Then I forced him to atone for the most unforgivable of sins. The theme of my novel is forgiveness, after all. But the reader will never know that unless he or she has the patience to see it through.
I did all those things you’re supposed to do to your MC: I made him human, imperfect with a huge chip on his shoulder. I gave him loads of room to change, balancing his strength and humility, turned his affliction into integrity, made him strive for the impossible, brought his compelling struggle to satisfaction though not completely resolved. He is dark. He is troubled. And he is seriously flawed. But is he too self-destructive to garner sympathy? Does he step over a line for which there is no absolution?
I wrote this novel from a particularly personal point of view: Mine. I can’t say that others would ever be able to forgive the unforgivable, but I wanted to show it’s possible. I hope I have that chance.
Have you ever read a novel where the main character steps way over the line? Were you patient enough to see it through to the end or were you too disgusted to continue?