“You Can Do Better Than This”

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I’ve been working on another project in and around Traveler – something I’ve been dabbling at more than full-on writing. It’s got a loose outline and a few scattered scenes, and it’s going to stay that way until Traveler is put to bed.

I had a first chapter down, but it was missing something. It just wasn’t sitting right. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either.

And it irked me.

Like an itch you just can’t reach to scratch, it felt off and it was blocking me, making my mind come back to circle it again and again instead of moving on.

So I reached out to a friend (who happens to by a NYT bestselling author, God bless her) and sent the chapter off for her perusal, knowing that she would be blunt and to the point about it.

She didn’t mince words.

You can do better than this,” she said. “It sounds like you’re writing it for the marketing department, and that worries me.


But she was spot-on correct. What I had written would have been better on the dust jacket of the book. It had some interesting stuff and it was a reasonably good intro of the plotline (or as much of it as I want you to know at the outset), but was it a hook? Did it grab and intrigue?

Not so much.

So I trashed about eighty percent of that chapter, rewrote, and now it’s looking meatier and far more interesting. It’s not quite there yet, but at least I can move on (when I get the time) and I’ll circle back to it on the second draft with fresh eyes and it will get there. I know it will.

Thank you Suzanne. Everybody needs a friend who doesn’t pull punches.


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