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  • Writer's pictureWalker Buckalew

Your In-Family Readers: Part Three

Your In-Family Readers: Part Three

In my last post, some weeks ago, I noted that my wife, Linda, had reviewed manuscript pages 140 - 210 (approximately) of my in-progress novel A Fearful Thing, and had deemed that section of the story “too scattered.” The focus had been lost, she said.

And, importantly, she added that the story had drifted away from “the mind of Rebecca.” Since this is the fifth novel in “The Rebecca Series,” that’s not a good thing.

So, as I wrote then, I started a major rewrite of the manuscript, going all the way back to (roughly) page 100, which is where the “scatteredness” had it origins. That’s finished now, and I am again moving into new territory.

The new territory, though, is now built on a foundation which is much more unitary and unified, bringing clarity-of-purpose to a story that was beginning to lose that clarity. None of this revising and rewriting has felt like a waste of time, because it simply meant going back to the point at which too many threads were introduced, getting rid of many of those threads, and then strengthening the smallish number that remained. And, since those were the best threads, this has been an exciting process of making something fulfill its promise the way it should.

Some examples:

  • The setting of the revised novel no longer switches from England to the U.S., and then back-and-forth repeatedly. Once it moves to the U.S., it stays there.

  • The revised novel no longer expands its “main character” list from six to more than a dozen. It goes into more depth with fewer individuals.

  • Rebecca is more immersed in the action and in the decision making than the author (that would be me) was allowing her to be. This is “her” series, and needed to remain so.

A sample of plot elements that remain to be developed, now that the partial rewriting has been completed:

  • In the other four novels in the Rebecca Series, all major “good” characters have at some point been physically damaged. The V-shaped scar on the right side of Rebecca’s face – running all the way from her mouth to her ear – remains the most consistently visible reminder of this fact. At this point in the fifth novel’s development, neither the major new character, Jack McGriff, nor his love interest, Marie Campbell, has been wounded (or, sobering thought, killed in action). Since the enemy in this story is clearly capable of the worst kind of violence, the author remains somewhat anxious for the safety, not only of McGriff and Marie, but of Rebecca and the other “good guys” as well.

  • One of the “bad guys” is actually a committed Christian man. He is at this juncture in the story torn between his faith commitment and the organization and nation to which he has also been committed for much of his life. His decisions and the results of his decisions – for him personally, for his wife and daughters, and for Rebecca, her colleagues, and her adversaries – remain to be determined.

And as always, I look forward to finding out.

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