Monday, June 6, 2005

"I'm an analyst"

I've just about finished up Farthest Space (22,000 words), although it's evident to me that it needs some revision. I had DH read it last week, and I've been through his notes and discussed it with him. The man has gotten to be a really good critique partner. He picks up copyediting problems ("you said her eyes were violet but now they're yellow") and inconsistencies ("I thought there wasn't a viewscreen in the lifepod?"), but he also can figure out what's missing in the plot.

For example, he pointed to a scene that wrapped up the main action of the book and said, "I really think this wraps up too easily." What do you know... I was thinking the exact same thing, and had already mentally flagged it to go back and expand.

He also said, "There's a lot of action and adventure in this story, but I'm not really feeling a connection between the hero and heroine."

I blinked. "Says the man who reads Tom Clancy."

"That's Tom Clancy," he said impatiently. "This is a romance. Where's the feeling between your characters? What does she see in him, anyway? She seems to go from thinking he's a jerk to falling in love with him awfully easily."

"She always had the hots for him," I pointed out.

"That's lust. How did she get from lust to love? I'm not getting that."

"They had that night together in the lifepod..."

"Lust. Not the same thing as love. Read my lips: Lust is not love."

"It's a spoof," I muttered defensively. "It's not meant to be taken all that seriously."

"But it is a romance, right? So how exactly does she fall in love with him?"

"Okay." I sighed, conceding defeat. "I see what you mean. How did you get so good at figuring this kind of thing out, anyway? You don't even read romances, except for mine."

"I've read all yours. I have a pretty good idea what I'm looking for. Besides, this is what I do for a living. I'm an analyst. I look at things and figure out what's missing. A book isn't any different from a computer program. If something's missing, it won't work."

"So you're saying my book doesn't work?"

"No. Overall, it's pretty good. I'm saying there are pieces missing, that's all."

This is why I refer to him as Vulcan Husband. The man is so painfully logical it hurts. But he's right... a plot has to be logical, or it doesn't hang together. If it doesn't hang together, it doesn't make sense to the reader, and the reader will be disappointed. And the last thing a writer ever wants to do is disappoint her readers.

So... that's what I'll be doing this week. Filling in the missing pieces.


  1. He's a keeper. You, uh, ever think of renting him out to other romance writers....?

  2. Oh, man, you are so lucky, Ellen! My husband has struggled through one whopping chapter of one of my romances and couldn't get any further. I tried writing a sports mystery (per his request--and he did read everything of it that I wrote), but I quit working on it when I started trying to get the young detective set up with the perfect woman..... *g*

  3. LOL, Ellen -- we're married to the same man! I love hearing about supportive, helpful husbands . . . even the Vulcan ones. ;-)