Friday, January 25, 2013

Writing Update - Prescription for Revenge


If you read this blog often, you know I'm one of the worst at self-editing and not just in a small way either. I have two things working against me, my ADD and my astigmatism. Combine this with normal writer's blindness and you get a powerful typo machine. I'm lucky enough to have friends that are willing to read an unedited manuscript and help correct the inevitable typos and rough patches.

But there's more to editing than just typos. Stephen King once gave a formula for writing: Final = Draft - 10%. My friends have helped me find a few trimming spots so hopefully I'll come in on target. One of the difficult sections of the book comes in chapter 5 and 6 where my 1930's hero is confronted with the race relations of that era. It's a delicate balance. You don't want to beat the reader over the head with how bad things were in 1930s Chicago but you don't want to gloss over them either.

During World War I, many African-Americans migrated from the jobless South to major metropolitan areas such as Chicago. They filled the jobs left empty by the WWI draft. When the servicemen returned, they found blacks in there old jobs. Conflict ensued.

Red Summer, as it was called, occurred in May of 1919 as race riots broke out in a number of cities. Hundreds of home were burned in the Black Belt of Chicago as black fought white for jobs and territory. Eleven years later my story takes place.

I attempted to write about the feelings my World War I veteran protagonist would feel toward persons of color inside a predominantly black neighborhood. My friend editors did not take this section well. I decided to trim back on some of the content. To be honest, it's against my better judgement but I've done it anyway. The concern was almost universal and so I'm left with writing what I feel is right or writing for the enjoyment of others. I suppose on this round I'll write for the enjoyment of others.

On to the next conundrum.


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