title trauma

king2The novel is shaping up nicely. I’m about half-way through the polish, and there are times when it reads as smooth as glass. That means a reader likely won’t be able to put it down. I’m worried about the beginning however. I’d had a number of readers, and a friend who reads two-character novels, complain that I introduced too many people in the first chapter of Dark Angels.

That comment amazed me. Number 1, I thought it was great fun to meet the rowdy, raucous mix that was Charles II’s court and that was Alice’s mileau. Number 2, there is no test to take after reading a first chapter. I will reintroduce the important characters I need to make the story, and you’ll get familiar with them as the story unfolds. Anyway, this is mulling around in the back of my mind as I polish (which means cut, smooth out, delete, write new things that make the reading slick) because I do believe people are reading differently, with less patience, and the inherent problem with an historical novel is that a writer has to set up the background so the reader understands the world he or she is entering, and that can’t be done in a quick paragraph or two. Or at least I can’t do it.

Anyway, at first I thought I would call the novel French Kiss, a play on its having a hugely important figure in French history as the main character, and the idea of that kind of kiss, and the idea of kiss off. But then I decided guys wouldn’t read a novel called that. So I’m been going with King. Straightforward, a strong word. I’m also toying with The King’s Son and The Sun King. I’m letting it stew as I worry about too many characters in the beginning and cut and paste and write and rewrite my way to an ending to this chapter of my writing life, a fourth novel.

There will be another chapter once it goes to my agent. But that’s another story.

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3 responses to “title trauma

  1. Personally, I loved the first few chapters of Dark Angels. I didn’t think there was too many people introduced at all! If anything, I thought it added to the ‘feel’ of the court of Charles II. I thought it was nicely done!
    Secondly, if you are interested in reader opinions, I love the idea of a HF book called ‘King’. Like you said, it is powerful, straightforward and who else but Louis XIV stands out in one’s mind as the ultimate king? No other king that I can think of…
    Lastly, congrats on finishing the novel and happy editing! I know there are a lot of readers who are eagerly awaiting your next novel, which I’m sure is every bit as memorable as your first three. 🙂

    Regards,
    Cassandra

  2. I want to go on record about Dark Angels’ beginning. I loved those first chapters with all the characters. I was just dropped into a “party” with an insider (the author) telling me who these people were and it all made since. That scene set the tone for the whole novel in its scope with big sweeping brushes. I loved it!

  3. I agree with the two other comments. The beginning of DA was fabulous! If you don’t hook me in the first chapter I most likely will move on! I did like the list of characters in the front of the book, it helped in keeping track. I tend to get confused with names easily! Just hurry in finishing this latest novel! 😉

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