So, I've survived the worst part of starting a new novel. Finishing chapter one. Finished is a relative term since I'm sure the final product will not resemble the chapter as it now stands, but for now I feel good enough about it to move on to numero two.
I'm trying a different approach to this novel. From my very first days of writing (six long years ago) up to the original comments about my last novel, two things have always remained constant. One, you need to start with more of a bang, and two, you're writing is so dark.
For me the first is easier to fix. I feel like remedied the dreaded slow start during rewrites of A River Without Water and Going in to this one I've made sure to get the reader's attention right away.
I've worked hard to give this new novel a lighter more commercial tone. Time will only tell if I succeed, but I know somewhere in the future I'll return to heavier stories. That seems to be the way my brain functions. I like to think of myself as a generally happy person, ready to have a good time, but the story ideas that come to me seem to be filled with tragedy. Not sure why but my question to anybody out there is -- What's wrong with a tragic story. Do you want everything you read to have that Disney-esque feel good ending? Or do you want it to feel real?
Now I know in certain genres you have to follow guidelines, but how about just a good ol' mainstream or commercial novel? Do you have to turn that last page and smile for it to be a good book, or can you finish and reach for the Kleenex and still think, WOW?