Friday, July 4, 2014


     Is there anyone out there who doesn't know what "oy" means?  In case there is: it's the verbal equivalent of a face-palm.  It's the way an ethnic Charlie Brown would say "good grief."  It's an acknowledgment of frustration.  In short, it's this:

     There was a very nice agent at the conference last weekend who asked to see the whole manuscript of my next-to-most-recent book... after revisions.  Well, I do know what "revision" means, as much as I try to avoid knowing it.  When you have a book that you've worked on for months, years, until you believe you've done all you can with it - that the characters are distinctive and well-drawn, that the plot moves along at a decent clip, that the reveals come at the right times, that the conclusion is satisfying - THEN you break it down, line by line, scene by scene, chapter by chapter, to analyze it as objectively as you can.  Is there enough variation in the length and rhythm of the sentences to sustain a reader's interest?  No matter how funny you think that line is, does it serve a purpose in the narrative or are you just showing off?  Is the backstory delivered in small and palatable doses, interspersed between action and dialogue?  Does each individual scene carry the story forward?  If not, what the heck is it doing there?  Does each chapter have its own internal story arc?  Are there plot holes you couldn't see before you had the cold hard glare of an outline staring you in the face?
     So here's where the "oy" comes in.  Oy, do I have plot holes.  For starters, one does not simply walk into Mordor, and one does not simply open a book in July AND NOT EVER MENTION HOW THE 15-YEAR-OLD PROTAGONIST IS SPENDING HER SUMMER.  Sure, the focus at the beginning is on her getting to know her new therapist, but since she's only seeing him once a week, and since the school year doesn't start until Chapter Eight,  what is she doing in the first seven chapters during the six days and 23 hours each week when she's not in the therapist's office??????  Reader: she is barely doing anything at all outside of that office.  Well, golly.  Do you think that could maybe be a PROBLEM?????
     That's what one might call the Major Plot Hole, but it does not mean that there aren't others. Oh, there are others, believe you me.  Oh, I have work ahead of me.  And oh, even though the book has been through what feels like ninety revisions already, I never even saw these issues before.
     Now do you understand what I mean by "oy?"


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Miz B! But don't feel it too much. Enjoy the rest of the weekend with your frisky panda pals!

  2. You know what, though, Susan? This is a huge breakthrough. You can see these issues now and that means you can fix them. Go to it. Then send it on to the agent, who ASKED for it. Crossing my fingers for you, my friend.

  3. Thanks so much for your support, Jody! I'm inching forward, and yes, I'm very glad I could avoid the embarrassment of having an agent point out this particular giant flaw to me. I wouldn't have had enough palms to deal with that! Hope you and yours are having a wonderful weekend!