Monday, June 29, 2015

Replacing Characters Mid-Stream

Richard Sigmund, "Varanasi", Ossining, NY

Writers and visual artists your insights, please! Have you ever “killed” off your main character, or replaced her with another character? Visual artists, how do you deal with dying forms, from flowers and dried river beds to human figures and emotion?

In my novel, “The Dance of Time”, my main character dies halfway through the story and a new main character, an ostensible louse, takes center stage. I’m told this is unusual, shouldn’t be done. What’s your take?  

In the graphic which is featured at right, you’ll see a painting by Richard Sigmund, a New York City artist. The work shown here, entitled “Varanasi”, on exhibit in Ossining, New York, is inspired by one of Sigmund’s trips to India. The oblique character in the painting represents a dying woman who has accepted her fate. There’s a strong relationship here to Sigmund’s main character and to my former main character. In Sigmund’s work, he has chosen not to replace his main character and the theme then translates to “acceptance”. For my main character, there is a replacement, one who is given the opportunity to redeem and renew himself which likely would not have occurred if the previous main character had lived.  That assessment may appear to answer my own concern about whether or not it is acceptable to “lose” and “replace” a main character in a novel. However, I’d like to hear what you have to say and if possible, please relate it to your own work. You’re welcome to post a link to your work as well.

View more of Sigmund’s street-art related works at the Ossining Library, New York, December, 2015 and at

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Marketing Your Work

My blog has strayed. The original topic about when to cease editing a manuscript and move onto the next project has actually moved into another realm—Marketing! This week’s question asks you how a relatively unknown writer can attract a publisher’s interest. Please, writers, visual artists, musicians and all other creatives weigh in.

To thank you for your support, here’s a related visual—a proud Floridian crane or Great White Heron (not exactly certain which but I am told it is a Great White, yet Sibley’s Guides has a few other suggestions). Nevertheless, the bird is “craning” its neck and isn’t that what marketing is all about, stretching to stand out from the others, reaching perhaps to attract attention or grasp something valuable? This striking photo comes from Kate Ryan’s photo collection. See more Kate Ryan’s photography work and imprinted items at:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

First novel, love it or leave it!

When to Stop Editing 

Eight years ago, I completed my first novel, "The Dance of Time". This is a
The Dance of Time is not about 
elephants. I just like this book marker.
70,000 word, literary fictive story that draws on themes of grief, forgiveness and personal renewal. Here I am nearly a decade later. It remains unpublished, and I am still revising it. I usually allow some time to pass before reading my revisions but even then I find my self making more changes. To complicate it, my friends who read the novel offer suggestions and I usually take their suggestions which means more revisions. So, here I am eight years later, no publisher or literary agent in sight and I'm still revising. So, here's my question to you, especially the writers and other creatives whose work requires making changes. When is it time to stop revising and move onto focus on writing another novel? In effect, should I love "The Dance of Time" as it is and leave it alone until the day when a publisher or literary agent approaches me and asks to read it, and then and only then make requested changes?