I’m feeling a little better.

Not cocky, by a far way, but…resolved. Yes, that’s the word.

Resolved is the first step back to cocky.

Started rereading the novel and I think it might be pretty good.

I’ve been working on it for almost a year now. I thought the fact that I’d written the first draft so quickly (five months–just like Wanting Mor) was a good omen.

I heard a good writer once say that ‘quick writing was good writing’. The problem is though it was a good novel, it might not have been a marketable novel. It needed editing.

Somehow I keep thinking of Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire.

And that takes me back to when I made a fool of myself when I was in Mississippi.

I committed the stupidity of commenting on a movie, and a classic one at that, without having seen the whole thing. I often catch movies partway through and I hadn’t had a chance to see it from the beginning. I saw Blanche’s character in action, and the derisive and downright racist things she said to Stanley, and found myself feeling sorry for Stanley.

I think it’s amazing how Tennessee Williams flirted so carefully between who was right so that you could completely understand why Stanley went off the way he did too, especially given his brutish nature.

We were in a car, driving to one of the events down in Mississippi and the subject came up and I blurted out that I kind of agreed with Stanley. I still dislike Blanche for being the type of vacuous flirt that tends to rub me the wrong way.

My hostess and her charming husband were quiet.

Months later I finally got to watch the whole darn thing and I saw Stanley’s reactions in a whole different light. Of course he’s a brute, and of course he never should have treated Blanche that way at all.

And I keep remembering when Blanche said something to the effect that a woman’s beauty was dependent on illusion, words to that effect anyway.

When I first started writing, I tended to write blatantly, honestly, I revealed every flaw of my character thinking that it would make them deeper.

I’ve come to realize that a story’s beauty is dependent on illusion as well.

We judge characters based on what the author reveals to us and what they hide.  At the time that Streetcar first debuted, I’d wager that most of the audience wouldn’t have thought twice about all of Blanche’s racist Pollock remarks about Stanley. They’re focused in on what he’s doing to her.

What if we had gotten a better look inside Blanche’s head? What if we’d taken a closer look at her attitude of superiority towards Stanley?

I think it would certainly have made us less sympathetic to Blanche. What if we’d seen her be rude to a black person.

I think that was the mistake I made with my protagonist. I revealed too much of his conflicted emotions.

I know they’re there, and I can still love him despite their presence, but perhaps it’s too much for the reader. They need a more pure soul to root for.

I guess that’s where editing comes in.

Creating the illusion, pruning a character’s flaws, making them more sympathetic.

And with that in mind, it might not be wise for me to be revealing all this on my blog. It shows a bit too much of the manipulation an author must do.

But when I started presenting to different audiences, I’ve always found the best approach is to be brutally honest. Even with the toughest teens, (and I’ve been to some TOUGH schools!) I’ve never had a problem with them because they can instantly sense that I’m being straight with them.

So if there’s anybody out there reading this, this is my promise that here, at least, I will strip away the illusion and be straight with you.