Monday, August 13, 2012

Peer Review

I've had plenty of people that have read Killing Lilith in various stages of its evolution. While a few have been taken aback at its content, everyone who's read it has, at least, found a profound appreciation for the quality of the work. Many have given it very high praise.

David Kirschner, who you may recognize as the creator of Chucky from the Child's Play movies, as well as the producer behind An American Tail, Hocus Pocus,  & Miss Pottergot his hands on it and enjoyed it so much he was supposed to help me find representation at CAA. Sadly, I lost DK to divorce. But still, I had a thirty minute conversation with one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, and most of it was about how he could not put down my novel. He began reading it one night, discovered his file was corrupted, and called his assistants to immediately get an uncorrupted version. I wish I had something in writing to share, but our emails were used, purely, to set up the phone call. Had I the foresight, I would've found a way to record the call.

Most recently, I received feedback from Tracy Byrnes. Tracy is part of my writing crit group. The only reason you may not have heard her is because she hasn't really shared her writing with the world, yet. She will, when she's ready, and you'll love it. I know I'd be willing to host a blog to showcase her writing!

I love Tracey's writing. More than that, I'm in love with Tracy's writing. She's like a contemporary Erma Bombeck with the sharp wit of Dorothy Parker. It's the Erma Bombeck part, however, that is of interest in relation to Lilith.

You see, while Lilith can be quite graphic, albeit not gratuitously so, it can't stand on that alone. It has to appeal to the average reader on a level that they can enjoy the rest of the novel. Gratuitous or not, if reader's think it's gratuitous, they will be less willing to explore Lilith's deeper themes.

In a sense, Tracy is the most important part of my target audience, that stalwart, middle-class girl next door, but smarter, who reads. As such, I was delighted to hear that Tracy truly enjoyed reading Killing Lilith. Rather than summarize her thoughts, I got permission to share her words with you:

I’m impressed. I think you’ve written a well-constructed story that proceeds beautifully from one chapter to the next. There were no wild jumps, nowhere I felt confused in time or space. The writing, as usual for you, is elegant and often eloquent.
You’re very successful, I think, in drawing the world of the chat room. It’s not an arena I know well, or even have much interest in, but you make it relatable, reasonable (an outlet, is all, a stage, of course everyone needs that) and fill it with moody suspense. Characters, chatters, take shape through just a few lines. And they are memorable. I’m thinking of Bill who wanted to talk about his dead son – a desperate question unanswered…I thought, I get it, I get it!
I can’t decide about Lilith – do I understand or not? Like her or not? She’s not that crazy, that’s the part that kills me. She seems to have extraordinary insights into her own life, failures, family. She’s smart. She knows what she did/does wrong. It’s completely sane to be depressed. Sane to fantasize about death, disappearance. I personally identify with the inability to DO…or the talking yourself out of doing. And that guilt/frustration.  To get off the lazy river inner tube, finally, and swim!  But – she means to DESTROY her children, in a way. I read advice chats online and they dip into darkness more often than you might guess, so I know that parents don’t always love their children. I can believe it. Still, I don’t exactly like her for not leaving them with something, anything better than Just Jack.
I liked the title “Forever , Lilith” better. As in the note she leaves– the whole idea of a punchy sign-off, making a mark on everyone’s psyche that will last. Somebody made you change it?
Slo, I like. God help me. Your details, once we meet him in the flesh, are just perfect. Trailer with Bargain Couch – a still life.  I love the clean bedroom (that he cleaned his bedroom!), the tiny shower, the croissant egg sandwich. And the tears. Your story, it’s almost a romance. Maybe is one.
You make the right choice with the ending, I think, although I have to say that I’m a sucker for neat, wrapped up The-Ends like the kind in children’s books. So I’ll have to suffer not knowing, exactly, or feeling quite finished.
I know I’m way late in sending you Official Thoughts. But I wouldn’t advise much change anyway. It’s time to let this one go, and see. It’s a page-turner. It’s disturbing. I felt uncomfortable reading it at times, and also comfortable, and understood. Which is to say, well done. I’m wishing you the BEST of the best with the next step in the process, and the next.
Well, there you have it. High praise from a most valued reader. Now let's hope I can pull in some of those Fifty Shades of Sh— You know what, if you can't say anything nice...

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2 comments:

Dinka Doll said...

I think I was one of the first readers of this book, and from the first page, as the story was unfolding in front of my eyes, i was glued to my monitor. I am really looking forward to holding an actual published book in my hands. Better yet, Freddie, can you sign my copy of the book? It would mean a world to me. :)

Fernando Quijano III said...

ABSOLUTELY. It's the least I can do. <3