In the wake of meeting with my editor and receiving my manuscript back after nearly six months, it occurs to me that Truth Front may once again need a bit of a change.
My editor, in short, told me her edits are minimal. She heaps praise upon the manuscript, but tells me that, if I want to seek a wide readership, I need to make The Novel Paradox more accessible. In her words, I need to dumb it down.
Of course I respect and appreciate my editor and am very grateful to her for working on this as a freelance project, unpaid, out of friendship and sheer goodness of spirit and belief in literature. I wouldn’t have chosen anyone else to help guide me into the shark infested waters of the publishing world. We both believe in literature and will protect its sanctity with our lives and this is why I agree with her, I believe there are many parts of the novel that, to use my term, don’t need to be left to such deep interpretation.
Though I am not necessarily a Realist writer (what exactly is a Realist writer, anyway, and aren’t we all Realist writers, in a way?), I am more or less tethered as a man to the realization that my work is not tailored to a wide audience. I am not writing for the masses (nor anyone, for that matter). The text is deeply interactive with the reader; the reader has to roll up his or her sleeves a bit to fully enjoy the novel.
I write based upon four principles: 1. Sate the creative energy compelling me to write. 2. Write always, and when unable to write, sneak it, like a fox. 3. Write novels (or essays or whatever I’m writing) that I would enjoy reading, and thus, would exhort my own efforts for. 4. Pay homage to the masters that have laid the foundation beneath this crooked, awkward and beautiful structure that literature has become.
Therefore, I believe there is a middle ground I can reach with this thing. I can fill in some gaps, I can utilize the tools of subtlety to perhaps make the text more accessible. But the reader needs to work. That is the beauty of literature, more than any other form of art. I’m not talking about the extreme avant-garde or even highly experimental work. The reader’s interaction with the text is paramount, in my opinion, to realize full enjoyment of the work. The Novel Paradox is a novel about art, about time and madness, but is in many ways just a good-old mystery, and the reader is the investigative apparatus thrust into the middle of it.
I will not dumb the novel down to gain the widest readership possible. It’s not meant for that. The widest readership possible wouldn’t even finish the synopsis on the back cover before setting the novel back on the shelf. But I can make adjustments so that perhaps more people will read and enjoy the novel, and just maybe, more people will read in general.
Now I’m not the champion for literature, or reading in general. As a matter of fact, I’ve been working on a new project, which, auspiciously, appears to be another novel-in-the-making, albeit larger (and more accessible) than The Novel Paradox, a new project which tackles the very issue of reading and its importance. But this is another matter for another entry. Because there will be other entries.
What I’m trying to get at is—with the advent of this new project and with the maintenance and reconfiguration of the former (also current?) project, I’m going to devote less time to the entries of fiction on this page, and more upon the creative process itself, the random musings of an insufferably dedicated writer and reader. A couple of years previous I consciously directed Truth Front toward a fiction-only enterprise, needing that redirection to retain focus on my obsessions, which are writing literature, and the pursuit of knowledge.
But now I think it’s time to redirect the path again, to deepen the labyrinth, so to speak.
So for all the loyal readers of Truth Front (I love you, mom!), go ahead and read the recent pieces of short fiction, if you haven’t already (Kansas City, House of Mirrors, et al.), for soon I will abbreviate them from their entirety. And this is a good thing, because it signals that, indeed, a new project is underway.