I sent out an email to my beta readers last night. To me, it came across as a friendly reminder that Coincidence is still there, waiting to be read and critiqued. Hopefully the fact that I’m an impatient, paranoid sufferer of the “imposter complex” didn’t come through too much.
Two of the three writers acting as beta readers got back to me in the morning, and one (the gentleman I expected to be my harshest critic) gave me a nice dose of early morning praise. However, he said that if he had to critique one thing, he’d have to comment on his uncertainty as to what is “real” in the story. I found this disconcerting as the entire story is supposed to be extremely limited third person, without any dream sequences, feelings, etc. The example he cited was rather crucial to the narrative, so I revisited the scene as soon as I got home.
I wound up adding a couple choice words and a couple sparse lines of dialogue to clear up the confusion without shoving it down the reader’s throat that “Hey, this character is misinformed! Believe the descriptions, not her one line of shouted dialogue!” In the process, I found the words coming out for the scene (found in the first tenth of the novel) tied surprisingly well with the exact middle of the novel (where the antagonist shows he has an ethical code, albeit severely shallow and distorted) and the very end (where the antagonist shows he had a reason for doing some of his most vile acts in the last half of the book).
Does it radically change the story? No. Does it give a particular scene a little more…oomph? something special? depth? Well, I certainly hope so.
“How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore” – Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”