I took a portion of Blood Marriage to my critique group. I knew this scene might be a little much for some people, so I warned them in advance in case they wanted to opt not to read it. But I wasn’t prepared for how really disturbing some readers found it. So now I’m asking myself what to do next.
Do I rework the novel so that readers won’t find it disturbing? Or do I tell the story as it came to me and as I felt it would have happened considering who and what the characters are?
This is one of those days when I wonder why I write. Is it really worth the time, work, and emotional upheavals? Could I stop? What would that be like, feel like, mean to my life and to who I am?
I believe that writers want to get a reaction from their readers. Whether good or bad, we want them to respond to what we write. To make them feel. It seems you did that….so good job!
I’d tell the story the way you think it needs to be told, the way the characters dictate it be told.
I turned on my computer this morning and found your comment. It was just the shot I needed to get me going again.
I reread the scene, trying to see it from the critters point of view. I fear it could lose some of its tension if I revise it, but I decided I won’t know until I try. Once I have two takes of the scene, I will still have the option of using either. And I can test them on the crit group again if need be.
You are right. Writers do need to get a reaction, and even a negative reaction is better than none. So I will see if revising it works for me, but if it doesn’t, in the end you are right a second time when you say the story needs to be told the way the characters would truly have lived it.
I completely agree with Wendy Regina! Don’t ever quit – you are too talented, and go with your gut. Disturbing is ok. It’s when a story leaves no emotion that you’re in trouble.
And huge congrats on the upcoming movie deal. I’ll be the first in line for my ticket!
Now… you send it to me! I wasn’t in your group, and would love to read it. I think I’m the closest in our group to your target reader, so perhaps I can give you a more to-scale perception of your audience’s reaction?
And yes, ditto above: never give up!
Thanks, Annie! You’re a peach!