The Jane Doe Novel Experiment

Creating Two New Novels. Writing One Chapter Weekly. Podcasting As I Go. Welcome to The Experiment.

Experiment Update: Knowing When to Take Advice

I like to think I know when to stand my ground and when to bow out when it comes to critiques. I’m ready to accept the worst, because I can always fix it! And, I don’t let the best blind me to the fact that there is always room for improvement.

I received a critique yesterday by email and, I must bow to it:

…about Lily and Ava’s relationship and there was something bothering me about it, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. This morning I realized what it is–I don’t know what attracted them to each other…I know when they met online they were writing “novellas” to each other, but what about?

I know I have two friends who will read this and say, “Hey! When I told you I was wondering about something, you told me, ‘it’s called, Chapter 2.’” And I stand by that! What’s the difference?

“It’s called Chapter 2”, is my way of saying, yes, I introduced a situation and since a whole novel can’t be called “Chapter 1”, it’ll be revealed in the next chapter. I understand there is an added frustration at times because due to the nature of The Experiment, the next chapter isn’t written yet. This makes it impossible to turn the page to get the answer, but the answer is one page away.

However, with this critique, the reader mentioned, “…there was something bothering me about it.”

Whoa! Doesn’t that sound like the reader has been wondering for a while?

That means “Chapter 2” won’t answer the question because “Chapter 2” has come and gone and the reader still isn’t satisfied. It sounds like I have a reader who is struggling to suspend disbelief. How horrible!

However, lucky for me, the reader mentions knowing that the Lily and Ava wrote, ‘novellas’ to each other, but the reader is interested in knowing what those novellas contained to make the women fall for each other and shake up their lives a bit. Easily fixed in a second draft! Currently, the scene reads:

Lily lowered her head until her forehead touched Ava’s. She whispered in an attempt to keep the excitement from her voice. “That’s not true, A. We just need to get his permission first.”

Ava’s ears echoed Lily’s nickname for her causing her heart to race. The two met online around three months ago. Ava thought it was such a silly little thing to try, but the anonymity online dating allowed a girl seeking girl relationship was alluring. Plus, she had been lonely romantically for sometime by then. The option literally opened the world wide-web for her. Even without posting her photograph, Ava received no less than twelve emails a day. Eleven of them weren’t worth a cube of ice in the desert’s sun. Six would be from women requesting their first, same-sex encounter. Four would have the nerve to ask for a threesome as a present for her boyfriend’s or husband’s birthday. At least one email would be from a female best categorized as “butch”. Nothing wrong with that if that’s your thing, but Ava was most definitely of the lipstick lesbian variety. The one plausible inquiry generally faded on its own within a week of emailing back and forth.

Lily had been different. Instead of shorter, the emails between the two became longer. They practically wrote novellas to each other. When the time to exchange phone numbers arrived, Lily realized she didn’t know if Ava pronounced her name with a long or short “A”. Out of desperation not to butcher Ava’s name, Lily started that first conversation with, “Hello, A,” and it stuck.

It stuck so deeply that hearing it in the flesh caused certain muscles of Ava’s located between her thighs to contract with longing. Lily’s red lips, which had just finished whispering her pet name, were so close to her own. Her hand so warm on her thigh. “He practically knows,” she whimpered. “You said so yourself.”

I felt that the above in Chapter 1 of, Enough for Four, was explanation enough of the beginning of the women’s friendship, but this reader wants more. And, I promise, the reader will have it before the book is in print, and a signed copy as a, “Thank you”.

If you have any feedback, good or recommendations, please do not hesitate to share!

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3 comments on “Experiment Update: Knowing When to Take Advice

  1. polypebble
    August 7, 2012

    I admire not only your ability to write, but the way you are so open to adjust. Good stuff! …I shall keep watching… and learning.

    • Jane Doe
      August 8, 2012

      Thank you, PP. That means a lot to me. Here’s to the end result on this journey of learning and growing and hopefully, a well-written novel on a complex subject!

  2. Nick
    August 9, 2012

    I felt the paragraphs explained lily and ava. I don’t know what the confusion is about. Great job to me.

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Past Experiments

New Chapter Countdown

7th Release Date!August 13th, 2012
Chapter 6 is here! - Enough for Four

New Chapter Countdown

6th Release Date!August 6th, 2012
Chapter 5, Part 2 is here!
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