f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Day 1 of <i>Ezekiel’s Shadow</i> – Getting Started

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Monday, October 10, 2005

Day 1 of Ezekiel’s Shadow – Getting Started

Now that the day has arrived, I feel a bit like Abraham walking his son up the mountain, knife hidden behind his back. We’re pretty much at the top now and haven’t found Leif Enger tangled in some bushes saying, “Dissect Peace Like a River instead!” so I guess we’ll be moving forward. *sigh*

I want to make a few quick points upfront, however.

1. A lot of people at BHP worked hard on this book. In no way is this meant to be a slam on their efforts. Frankly, you should have seen the thing before their help. So I take full and sole responsibility for the book’s shortcomings.

2. This isn’t an act of self-loathing. I like portions of the book a lot. Re-reading it brought back many, many fond memories of its genesis. I think I can examine it now, eight years after writing the first word, and explore its weaknesses without too much psychic trauma.

3. I was twenty-three when I started this puppy. Unmarried. Living in a bleak apartment in Wayne, PA, and spending hours an evening at the local library, tucked in a back corner carrel writing on an old Apple laptop that’s so past obsolete at this point you’d cringe. Weird.

4. Red alert! There were portions of the novel I cringed at during my re-read. These are portions I remember not feeling totally comfortable about in the first place. If you don’t like it when you write it, chances are it’s not going to age well.

5. One of the questions I’m interested in figuring out is: “How much can a novel improve?” From where this started to where it finished was a pretty large leap. What I think we’ll show is that there was still a fair amount of leaping still waiting to be done. Could the novel, in its conception, have made those leaps? Was I enough of a writer to have made those leaps? These are all things I’m interested in discovering.

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The greater portion of this discussion is going to be lead by Mark Bertrand at his site. Stop over today to read his introduction and the structure to expect for the analysis. You'll probably want to start with his daily posts and then head this way to read mine. Here I'll usually offer a bit of a response/explanation/excuse.

And of course, be sure to post your own thoughts and ideas at the discussion board forum. Which is now open for business.

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Finally, remember the end goal of this isn’t to trash Ezekiel’s Shadow. That’s fruitless. Rather it’s to say: this was a decent book. This was a novel that gained praise. Even won an award. And yet it failed on some levels. Where did it fail? Were they fixable? And how could it have been fixed? And hopefully through this process we’ll all understand a little more about the magic that makes truly great books soar.

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Go to Day 2 of our Discussion of Ezekiel's Shadow

Go to Mark Bertrand's Discussion of Ezekiel's Shadow