(MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
THE CIVIL WAR WAS ABOUT TO END, BUT ONE WOMAN’S STRUGGLE WITH HER CONSCIENCE, HAD JUST BEGUN…
It is an era of scarcity during the hostile Civil War―a time of upheaval, yet she is brave, and she is strong. In her deceitful world, she is the ultimate survivor. Meet Virginia Mae Mercy is a conflicted young woman. It is the year 1863 and all is not well, neither in Kansas, nor in the entire world―Virginia‟s world of uncertainty. Savage Dogmen have just killed her husband, Birdy, and apparently, it is not a random killing. Suspiciously, and in an effort to bring order to her troubled life, Virginia Mae Mercy packs her meager possessions and heads west in search of a dream, traveling with her only surviving daughter, Triste. Born mentally challenged, Triste is an eight-year-old with an unusual gift and lives in her idyllic world with her best friend―her dog, Rusty. But when Triste's father, is allegedly killed in battle, Virginia believes his death was not fate, but vengeance. God‟s supreme hand of justice. Along her journey west, Virginia‟s dreams of a safe life soon fade into despair when they clash with Sioux Indians along the fringes of the Oregon Trail. Their horror soon escalates, but the seeds of this regrettable journey had already been sown in blood.
Torn from the start, it is apparent that Virginia‟s desires to birth the boys she longs for, her desire for love, and her desire to live a Godly life, are desperately out of touch. She veils a life of sin, as a virtuous woman, but deep inside she is anything but that. Yet at the heart of this story, there is a mystery. One central question: Did Virginia Mae Mercy plan Birdy‟s murder? Later we learn that it is a question that even Virginia may not know the answer to. On a broader scale, the story also touches on the friction between Indians and Whites during the Civil War era; suggesting nothing has changed since, as it alludes to race relations in general. Another theme is one of a life interrupted. Another question: What happens when your life is turned upside down? Derailed and uprooted in an unwanted direction. Then the dilemma: Can you survive? How will this unexpected path change your deepest beliefs? And more importantly, are those beliefs true in their own light, or are they merely the consequences of deep-rooted denial? The story's underlying premise rings true in the end. As life often teaches, sometimes the world chooses to change us instead. And although Virginia confronts a myriad of obstacles, her deepest fear is that she will never be loved and that she will never find true happiness; yet on the surface, she must deal with a woman's most unthinkable attack. A Death for Beauty or An Immortal is ultimately a story of conflicting choices about finding spirituality in a troubled world filled with deception and harsh losses. An exploration of fate versus random circumstances, and the ideologies we ultimately choose to believe.
Choices that weave their way to a dramatic end with a poignant twist that questions everything this heroic character believed in, and everything she had fought to stay alive for.
*** PRESS RELEASE ***
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Alberto Rios Arias Email: email@example.com „
Man with Marfans Syndrome Challenges Himself to Publish Bestselling Novel
Camuy, Puerto Rico—March 7, 2009—Bedridden over a year, former advertising copywriter, Alberto Rios Arias, now hopes to meet his ultimate deadline: to publish his debut novel, A Death for Beauty or An Immortal, before he's back on his feet. Diagnosed with a rare connective tissue disorder known as, Marfans Syndrome, April of 2007, Alberto Rios is prepared for the worst, but hoping for a full recovery. He is under the close care of the Veteran‟s Medical Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico where they have already performed one surgery and replaced his damaged aortic heart valve with a bionic, ceramic valve and aortic crown, last December. “I can‟t believe I‟m bionic. My new heart valve ticks like a loud clock and keeps me up at night. My right hip needs replacement with a full bionic prosthesis too,” said Alberto. “Hopefully I can call attention to this very rare disease that silently affects one in every 5000 Americans. I‟m encouraging anyone with a heart murmur to take it seriously.” Alberto is optimistic for a full recovery after hip replacement surgery and with proper rehabilitation, he plans to manage the disease successfully. “My deep faith in God and the support of my family keeps me going. I choose to believe that my affliction is a blessing in disguise. I‟ve also taken advantage of my spare time and I've written what I feel is a very important story. And I‟ve put my heart and soul into it because I believe there‟s a deeper purpose in the story‟s details.” Alberto‟s debut novel, A Death for Beauty is published by Freedom Rivers Books and available on Amazon.com, May, 2009. Author‟s website: http://www.adeathforbeauty.com ABOUT THE AUTHOR Alberto Rios has published numerous essays throughout the internet and on his BlogSpot for the past 5 years, and has also authored two feature screenplays.
Born in Jersey City and raised in Hoboken, NJ, Alberto had always filled his leisure time writing and illustrating short stories as a young boy but never considered writing seriously until he read J.D. Salinger‟s, Catcher in the Rye in high school. After a three year stint in the Army, he decided to enroll at the popular, School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, under the G.I. Bill, and although he majored in Fine Arts, his creative writing class had quickly sparked his yearning to write. He is a former copywriter for an advertising agency, writing advertorials, which appeared weekly in two New York City tabloids. Alberto currently dedicates most of his time developing another novel and a memoir. A Death for Beauty or, An Immortal is his first novel.
THE CENTRAL CHARACTERS
VIRGINIA MAE MERCY (PROTAGONIST) On its surface, A Death for Beauty is the remarkable story of a troubled young woman, whose era, the Civil War circa 1863, was certainly not ready for her. Virginia Mae Mercy, a woman blindly conflicted, suppresses God‟s authority and his decrees upon women, as she notes―for God had made husbands, “the head of the wife…and that wives should submit in everything to their husbands…” —Ephesians 5:23, 24. She is a woman whose love for the Lord is unwavering until tragedy strikes and she questions her convictions to God. She‟s opportunistic―righteous one day but defiant against scripture the next. Yet, this is her inner conflict at work. Her unconscious desire kept in check. On face value, Virginia Mae Mercy is the perfect believer. God‟s humble servant, who outwardly wishes no harm to her brethren, yet believes that God has stricken her abusive husband with a cruel and vengeful death on her behalf, as she cites at the opening of the story. “Birdy got what he deserved. I just can’t see it any other way. When you wrong someone, the universe always finds a way to right it.” Revenge is one premise in the story―a story that at its core is ultimately about life‟s uncertainties and its many guises. The storyline is a search for truth, but it is Virginia‟s own truths that surface time and again to take over the story and direct it in ways that only she sees―in ways that only she can decipher. Yet, Virginia Mae Mercy knows she is not immune to punishment. In fact, she expects it, even as she seeks immortality.
“So let God’s justice roll down like waters, because sooner or later, we all must pay the price.” TRISTE MERCY Triste is a special girl who was born with the uncanny power to heal dying creatures. Although, born mentally challenged, her insights about the constant turmoil that surrounds her, reveals much more about the mysteries of the world, than the mysteries of her own soul. BIRDY The story opens with the telling of one of Birdy‟s pranks gone wrong, and how his demise came about, although Virginia, who we soon find out is the voice behind this narration, does not reveal all the motives behind his death. Birdy is an enigma in this story, and since the telling opens with his demise, most of the details we know about him are what Virginia confides to Triste on their journey west. He was a cowardly, imbecile of a soldier who Dogmen murdered and scalped, which leads to the central question: Did Virginia indeed plan his murder? Some events point to her involvement, while other events deny the mystery surrounding his death. Virginia often displays mixed feelings for him throughout the story, which also raises more questions than answers. MR. CLAYTON FARQUHAR AND SISSY Mr. Farquhar represents the story‟s subconscious―its underbelly. He is in effect a charlatan who tries too hard to fit the mold of a successful adventurer, a capitalist. While his wife, Sissy, is portrayed as his submissive partner who has not found her self-esteem. Together, they form an unwitting team for Virginia Mae Mercy‟s many quirks, which adds tension, as well as comic relief.
HATTIE Virginia‟s mother, Hattie, is more like a friend than a mother. Their relationship is open and utterly transparent but at the same time, volatile for reasons unknown to them. She stands firmly as the detestable voice of reason throughout the story. PASTOR WAKEFIELD The pastor is a mirror reflection of who Virginia Mae Mercy really is. Everything he says and does reveals not only who he is, but who Virginia is by association. He is in effect, her mirror image and her guilty pleasure, and Virginia uses him to seek comfort against Birdy‟s infidelity. CHIEF STANDING BEAR Chief Standing Bear, as we might expect from the chief of a Sioux tribe, can be callous and unforgiving. But in this story, we are privy to another side of this magnificent warrior. He is also just as warmhearted when the moment presents itself. And although a relationship is apparent between the chief and Virginia Mae Mercy, its details are left to the reader‟s imagination. WHITE STONE White Stone is a key player surrounding the mystery of Birdy‟s murder. Many things are suggested, but few are proven regarding his involvement. The details are left to the readers own conclusions. This statuesque warrior, as Virginia describes him, is also the white man‟s conscience in the story. He is a half-breed of mythical proportions, and Chief Standing Bear‟s main rival. The chief shuns him but keeps a close eye on him for fear of treason. His suspicions are soon validated when White Stone becomes Virginia‟s close ally. Maybe too close, as they plot an unthinkable escape that enrages the Sioux chief to blind vengeance.
READING GROUPS -- SPOILER ALERT
About this guide:
The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that follow are intended to enhance your reading group‟s discussion of “A Death for Beauty,” Alberto Rios Arias‟ moving, deeply empathetic, and richly rewarding debut novel.
1. Which books does the author reference in the novel? The author mentions three of his favorites: The Holy Bible, Nathaniel Hawthorne‟s, The Scarlet Letter, and Jonathan Swift‟s tale, Gulliver’s Travels. 2. What are the symbols used throughout the story? White roses, the apple, the rainbow, the serpent, Adam and Eve. 3. What is the importance of mentioning the artwork in the opening chapter? The author wants to illustrate Virginia's feelings via the fall of man as represented by the Adam and Eve painting and her longing for true love and sacrifice. 4. What does the name Triste mean? It means "sad" in Spanish. 5. What do white roses symbolize in this story? Traditionally, white roses symbolize purity, beauty, and innocence; three character traits, which, Virginia Mae Mercy lacks, but is in desperate search of. Arias, juxtaposes these traits to counterbalance her character. White roses in this story also represent sacrifice and death. 6. Why does Virginia Mae Mercy feel that her daughter Triste is God’s punishment to her? Since Triste was born mentally challenged, Virginia feels that Triste is
God‟s reminder and His punishment to Virginia because of her wicked ways. 7. What does Clayton Farquhar mean when he says Rusty looks like a “lady killer?” Virginia also makes a similar reference when she says: “He’s most likely to throw me to the dogs…he got what he deserved.” This is an allusion to Jezebel, The Phoenician Queen in the Book of II Kings, verse 9:30. Jezebel is killed when several eunuchs, at Jehu‟s command, throw her out a window. She is then devoured by dogs. 8. Where does the author make a veiled reference to the calamities of life on earth? In chapter one: “It sounds like an explosion. Like a big bang at the epicenter of his universe. As if the beginning of something dreadful.” 9. What is the leading premise of the story? This story works off two premises. Its leading premise--that life on Earth is always uncertain, and that we are not in as much control as we think. Also, that the rewards of spiritual life after death, immortality, are something beautiful and that death should not be feared, but honored. Hence, the title. 10.What inspired the title “A Death for Beauty or An Immortal?” Emily Dickinson‟s poem, I Died for Beauty, But was Scarce. The title is also referenced near the ending by Virginia. Dickinson's poetry graces the chapter beginnings throughout the book as well. 11. What does the artwork on the book jacket mean? At one point, on page 270, while on the run with White Tipi, Virginia dreams of a foggy canyon with galloping horses. Arias‟s inference to this imagery is that the canyon represents hell on Earth and the free horses represent an escape from its depths. Ironically, Virginia relates to this imagery, „as if through clouds in heaven.‟
12. How does the depiction of Sioux Indians serve the story? The author wants to emphasis the struggle of humankind on Earth and to suggest triumph in the midst of adversity by showing their means of survival and procreation against all odds. The Indians also serve as a contrast between Whites and Native Americans during a turning point in America‟s history, as well as the struggle among many cultures to co-exist in a prejudice world. 13. What is the meaning of Virginia's three strange encounters at the end of the story? By the end of the story, Virginia is unsure about everything in her life, and she can no longer distinguish between reality and fantasy. She encounters bizarre entities that foreshadow her fate, as well as the ending. 14. What underlying themes does the author explore? Lovelessness, uncertainty, spiritual weakness, forgiveness, betrayal, promises, denial, life after death, rebirth. 15. What does the short story in the Prologue mean? This short, curious prologue, written as a parable, speaks to our precarious journey on Earth through the eyes of unborn children. In this case, through Triste‟s eyes as she relates her story from Heaven, and through Virginia‟s stillborn children. The prologue is also a reference to the mysterious events that transpire in the course of our short, uncertain lives. 16. Discuss the surprising ending. How do you feel about the story‟s outcome and why? Why do you think the author chose to end the story this way? Does the ending make sense to you?
Cormac McCarthy‟s Border Trilogy; Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Beloved by Toni Morrison; Finn by Jon Clinch; The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.
What inspired you to write, and why this kind of story? I love reading classic literature, especially Greek mythology, but the first book that planted the thought of writing in my head was J.D. Salinger‟s Catcher in the Rye. I remember being so curious about that title and when I started reading it, I was hooked right away. I was 15 at the time so it‟s easy to see why that story had such an impact on me. That, plus many other things had slowly steered me towards writing my own novel. This particular story swarmed in my mind for the longest time after college, but I knew I never really had the time to dedicate myself to writing until late in my life. I think the movie Dances with Wolves had a lot to do with writing this kind of story, although, originally my idea was to tell a story about a little girl that had been captured and raised by Indians, and how that affected her life, in her voice. I started tinkering with a few paragraphs and soon realized how difficult it would be to tell this story from a child‟s point of view so I went with a young woman as the protagonist instead. It was a natural progression to set the story during the Civil War era because that‟s when the escalation between Indians and Whites was at its peak. I‟ve always been fascinated with that time and place.
As far as the tone of the writing, I‟ll credit Miss Emily Dickinson‟s poetry, which was a huge inspiration for Virginia‟s voice. There’s more to this story than meets the eye. What does it all mean? This is not an ordinary story and it was certainly never meant to be. Aside from being set during a historical era, its backdrop, it deals with many themes and motifs regarding life and death, human curiosities and mysteries. That alone opens up a Pandora‟s Box. Questions and possibilities about our short life on Earth, to which there are always more questions than answers. What can we do with all the evil thoughts in our hearts and minds? How do we process the mysterious world around us? How do we react to our circumstances? How do we find solutions to our most profound problems? Can we live forever? How do we remain positive, affirmative and pro-active? Who is really in control of our life and death, our Creator, or us? These are important questions to me. The intention of this book is to reveal these questions in an enlightening way, rather than posing pseudo spiritual answers throughout. Ultimately, it is everyone‟s responsibility to seek and provide their own answers. To search for the truth, wherever they can find it. In a sense, I built the constructs of this story around a metaphor for life. In this case, captivity represents bondage; the Sioux Indians represent oppression and slavery, as well as seekers of spiritual matters and freedom. The story in essence is a parable, and it is up to each reader to decipher
their own meaning and come out of it with renewed understanding and clarity of purpose for their life. To figure out the great mystery its protagonist is searching for, and to ultimately be free. Some readers find the opening to this story confusing. It is somewhat complex but very readable and understandable when read with an open mind. Which writers have influenced your writing? Too many to mention because I learn something from each of them, but I think without question, J.D. Salinger, Cormac McCarthy, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, to name just three that have been the most influential. Marquez is probably my favorite writer, although there are so many I admire. And as you can see there‟s a huge gap in that literary map among these writers but they have all inspired me and I‟m grateful to have learned from them. (Let me not forget the many writers in the Bible who have influenced every writer, before and since Aristotle.) Others include, Barbara Kingsolver, Mark Twain, Roberto Bolaño, Harper Lee, Toni Morrison, Earnest Hemingway. I also like the screenplays of Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino, Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola, and Stanley Kubrick, to name a few. Let‟s face it; I‟m a fan of any writer that has something interesting to say and a unique way of saying it. But I try to do my own thing, in my own way and I don‟t let other writers inside my head when I write. It‟s the only way to maintain a unique voice throughout the work.
Why have you chosen so many points of view for this story? The short answer to that is I think it adds depth and texture to the story. I realize there are plenty of rules about maintaining one POV throughout, but Toni Morrison, for example has made good use of multiple points of view, especially in her novel, Beloved, and if done properly it adds to the telling. Although, I don‟t use POV‟s at her level, but I like the feel of more than one POV. It adds vibrancy to the dialogue and keeps the reader off guard and always expecting something different. I think that one narrator, whether it is the main character or an “off screen” narrator, can limit the story to a monotonous tone, or a repetitive tone in some cases. Multiple POV‟s keep everything fresh and alive, and zoom in on the characters, up close and personal. In this case, I‟ve used a POV devise whereas the story opens with a narrator then quickly segues into Virginia‟s POV but since she is an unreliable narrator, as her opening statement shows, the story quickly shifts back to an “off camera” narrator who takes over the story until Virginia is able to tell what she remembers, beginning in Part II where they confront a tribe of Sioux Indians. I chose this method to tell the story because telling it from a first-person omniscient POV all the way through can get somewhat monotonous and even self-serving as far as it‟s main character goes. It seems self-aggrandizing to talk about “yourself,” especially in print, and so I chose she set-up the story and present her dilemma in her own words via her journal and when the time comes where she forgets, or when she is not a part of a scene, the exterior narrator takes over with a more subjective
POV. That happens several times throughout. But it‟s easy to follow. A lot happens throughout this novel. What is the story’s main premise? Actually, this story works off two premises and many themes bounce off those premises. The opening and central premise is that we are not in control of our lives. The second premise, which fades in later is that the fear of living leads to a wasted life―an unfortunate death. Not all deaths are unfortunate, you know. We all know we have to die some day. It‟s not so much about our dying as it is about the kind of life we‟ve lived. Many people live their lives to the max and when their time of dying comes, they have no regrets. Yet that‟s the exception, rather than the rule. Most people waste their lives on unimportant things, and when their time of dying approaches, they‟re resentful and miserable. In other words, dying fulfilled is possible for many people, especially if they believe in immortality, or as the title suggests―a death for beauty. And that‟s the real meaning behind the title, in fact. It speaks to that premise in the story and not a theme, as in the death of Birdy, which is thematic to the story. The circumstances surrounding his death, that is. Denial, for instance is one of many themes I use and in this case, it plays off Virginia Mae Mercy. She owns that theme, and she is also the quintessential skeptic and her views rely more on the assumption that believing random acts of violence in the world are more than fate. Possibly even God-ordained. And a lot does happen and keeps happening, like a toppled row of dominoes. Nothing but conflict and one thing affects the other, which is how
dynamic plots are structured. Otherwise you wind up with a mash of events that may be interesting but have nothing to do with each other. So my plot is very linear, but at the same time, filled with palpable beats that don‟t flat-line. Not in my eyes anyway. I‟m sure every reader has their own unique way of seeing it. Some readers say that you portray the Sioux people in an unflattering light and are offended by parts of this story. The last thing I wanted to do was portray any people, especially the great Sioux Indians in a negative way. Act II, where the Sioux appear, is based on a true story, Fanny Kelly‟s narrative of her own captivity, in fact. Had I mirrored her sentiments throughout the novel, it would have been a much more undesirable image for the Sioux. Instead, I chose to present her story, as close to her original narrative, albeit, with redeeming values wherever I could show them regarding the Sioux tribes of the times. I‟ve always realized how difficult this story can be for the Sioux people, however, parts of this story strive to show why the Sioux were so defensive against the U.S. Cavalry and strives to show both sides with as much humanity as possible. Many other stories have depicted the Sioux just as I have done here. The bottom line for me is simple. All of humanity is flawed, and every culture is flawed in their own way. I‟m not out to sugarcoat historical facts. I‟m trying to present a story as honestly as I can, without condemning anyone. As a minority myself, I can certainly relate to the plight of Native Americans and how the Whites of the era sought to
malign them and seize their land. None of this, however, is the reason for this story, and so it‟s not an integral part of the telling. What is Triste’s role in this story? Triste plays a very important character since by design she is one of the sub-plots of the story. And that is to say that Triste mirrors Virginia in many ways, as does Mr. Farquhar, but the main difference is that unlike Farquhar, she reflects the opposite of Virginia. Almost as if Triste is what Virginia some day wants to be like, from an empathetic point of view. She is, in effect, a contrast to Virginia‟s conscience. Triste‟s innocence and her subconscious mind is everything that Virginia struggles against, but at the same time, it is everything she strives to become. This storyline has elements of a love story. Is that fair to say? Very much so. In fact, I use one of the major story beats from the love story genre, which is conflict between two people when they first meet—a guarded attraction. I think readers get the sense, right away, that both Virginia and Mr. Farquhar will eventually wind up in love, at least to a point. Whether they get back together afterwards, or not, is open to interpretation. I‟ve taken a clue from Hollywood, whereas, most screenplays these days go beyond one genre and delve into two or even mix three genres within the same story. It‟s a lot like layering different, but related storylines into one. I think the hardcore genre formula of yesteryear, so-to-speak, is stale by comparison. Audiences and readers today demand
more, and that‟s correlated almost directly to shorter attention spans when it comes to entertainment. Both audiences and readers want more “bang for their buck” and they get it with hybrid stories in both cinema, as well as literature. In essence, it‟s the evolution of story, as we know it since the stage plays in Aristotle‟s time, for instance, and that‟s not comparing apples to oranges. Stories, whether they are in the form of a stage play, or in the form of a screenplay, or novel, have always been driven by a main premise, the story engine. At least the best ones are. That may never change, but what drives the engine, the separate storylines, and subplots, and how they converge, that‟s where the magic happens. Not always easy to pull off, but it‟s not so impossible either. Writers these days really have to pay their dues and examples of great writing is evident today in TV shows like Rescue Me, Lie to Me, The Mentalist, Mental, Burn Notice, and the list goes on. Then again, I think it‟s fair to say that cinema may have an advantage over literature, whereas performances can sometimes make or break a story. In novels, there are no performances, only words on paper, so it‟s the writer‟s job to bring those character performances to life within the reader‟s mind, and that can be accomplished with either many details, or the lack thereof. Too much detail can take away a reader‟s interpretation, based on their own experiences, and that tends to dilute the narrative. I‟m inclined to use enough detail to spark a thought in the reader‟s mind, as opposed to spoon-feeding
the entire story by way of relentless detail. Readers are smart enough to get what writers are trying to say without them having to spell out everything. That‟s known as OTN (on the nose) writing in scriptwriting for film, and where the good use of subtext comes in. Some things should be left to the imagination. Where do the character names come from? Hmm…I found them on the internet. Well, I looked up Victorian era names and came up with a good list and worked off that but some of them like Virginia‟s name I made up entirely. I love the name Virginia and in her case the “Mae” seemed like a good middle name, and “Mercy” was what she needed so, there you have it. It was the third name I had used while writing the script. Maxine was my original pick but her sister-in-law wound up with it. All the other names were off the list, except for Triste, which means “sad” in Spanish and just right for this endearing character. I think it fits. The name of Mr. Clayton Farquhar has a sophistication to it that contrasts with his personality, his pretentious ways. There‟s something comical about that combination and I think Mr. Farquhar lives up to his unusual name. Birdy‟s nickname was made up, of course, to add some warmth, but his last name, Kelly, is from Ms. Kelly‟s original narrative. It feels as though you’ve really captured the many nuances of this era. What kind of challenges did you face when drawing from historical information?
I‟ve always been interested in the American Civil War so I had internalized a lot of things that are specific to this era, but I still had to do quite a bit of research in order to get everything as accurate as possible. That always takes a lot of time and meanwhile the writing can‟t stop, so you wind up going back and forth, filling in gaps and details you missed the first time. Some of the facts I had to skew in order to better serve parts of the story and I mention that in the preface footnotes about the use of passenger trains at the time, for example. And so, a lot of details are also added after most of the writing is done too. I added several events about President Lincoln that I thought were interesting. It‟s easy to go back and fill in small details that make a big difference in the mood of a scene. It‟s similar to piecing together a video, where you cut and paste scenes and events in random order at times and then edit everything back into its rightful place. I also read as much as I could about the Civil War online and looked up many expressions, customs, foods, news events of the time, and so on. That‟s always a lot of fun to do when you have a curiosity about another era. I think most of my research went into writing the preface because it‟s loaded with factual history relevant to this story and so I spent a lot of my time in the library piecing that together. How long did it take you to write this novel? I wrote the first draft in about three months but it was a scant 60k words and most of that I saved for the middle of the story, or Act II. Later I added another 35k words when I expanded the beginning and the ending to the story. I worked within a typical Five Act structure. All together, I spent the
better part of three years working on it day and night most of the time. Most readers find this story very interesting and rewarding, but then there are those who like to tear it apart and misinterpret what it all means. I don‟t think that I‟ve ever read a novel that I didn‟t find something wrong with. There are so many faults to find in any work of literature. Even the very best stories fall short in the eyes of many readers, while others still praise them. It‟s all so subjective and every writer has a certain way to get their words and their stories across. Sometimes, things get lost in translation, as they say, and people take offense. That‟s to be expected. You just can‟t please everyone. Some readers will get it, while others won‟t have a clue. I‟m the type of writer that doesn‟t coddle readers. I realize they can read between the lines and come to their own conclusions. Nor do I sugarcoat the truth. I strive to balance the story from all points of view. There‟s a reason why novels, for the most part, are not illustrated. The writer supplies only words and the reader‟s interpretation, understanding, and imagination regarding those words is what they absorb and what they take away. That‟s the art form. Sometimes for better; sometimes for worse.