Far be it from me to seek out the ‘wife look’ that Angie shares with Angst’s wife Heather (and I’m sure many other women). I find it easier on everyone involved if I completely duck the swing of that sword, dodge that bullet, or try to completely avoid that trap. Unfortunately this isn’t always possible.
In spite of my warnings, Angie was pretty upset after editing a chapter in which Angst gets a surprise kiss from someone that isn’t Heather. Angry enough that it took her awhile to shake off, and only at the end of the day did I receive a brief, “I got over it.” I look at this in two different ways. First of all, as a loving husband I have no desire to purposefully hurt my wife’s feelings. I realize that she associates many of the characters with people in my life, with good reason, and a stolen kiss would be pretty upsetting in real life. The second way I look at this is, I’m doing it right.
With Angie, my alpha readers, and my beta readers, I often look for a different reaction than what they would expect. I’ve learned from watching movies that everything should happen for a reason. In film, there is finite time to work with – it’s rare you will watch a scene that doesn’t mean something. I try to do the same, which isn’t always easy. Whether it is subtle foreshadowing, a play on words that hints at the ending, or a seed planted for future books, almost all scenes should be relevant. It’s tough balancing a fun story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, while at the same time allows character development, an interesting plot, but not too wordy.
So, when Angie tells me that Angst getting that kiss is over the top and she finds it upsetting, I can’t help but say to myself ‘nailed it!’ When I get notes from the alpha or beta team telling me that a scene brought about frustration, or even “I didn’t get that until later”, I have to admit I feel pretty good. I don’t feel my story should always be presented cleanly. It should make sense, but it shouldn’t always fit together perfectly. Life is a mess that tends to come together, eventually, somehow. I feel the same way about my books.
So, to my lovely wife and editor, my sincere apologies for the kiss that really wasn’t, and thank you for the great response.