Now that I have the cover designed I am working with a professional editor, above, to make the book more readable. Amber Helt is working with me and I am so happy to have her input and sharp eye working with me.
She began with a thorough read and then a summary report to me about her understanding of the book and her ideas of how best to work on it with me. She really understood what I was writing. She described the characters in the book just as I wanted them physically and emotionally. She know their background and motivations. For a young editor she seems to have a good working knowledge of how things happen here in the U.S. I have been touched with her insights and impressed with her open minded acceptance of what I am trying to do.
This is a dark book and deals with unpleasant subjects. Many of the worst human emotions are found in this story. There is violence and mistrust, criminal activity and consciously bad ideas and behavior. The characters are under all the stress of trying to live in a very controlled society and have broken out in an attempt at authenticity. Ms. Helt has been willing to look at the underlying story as it is told and just to worry about pacing, dialog and flow.
She does ask me questions about what I am trying to convey and how I am saying it, and then once she understands she is creatively incorporating that fabric into the book. What is happening is a story that has less hesitation and more motion. It will help you understand what happened and how the people involved felt about it.
This is a tough story to write for civilians because the horrors of war crush the humanity out of soldiers. In order to survive we (they) have to give up access to most emotions, or we would go crazy doing the horrible things that war requires. So if I write the veterans in the story accurately they feel to remote for the reader, Ms. Helt is able to tell it from the understanding of a non-soldier while still presenting the challenges of the soldier. We don’t talk well with other people. We don’t share our feelings with other people. We don’t react to things that evoke strong emotions in normal people. (i.e. non-combatants) If I write that accurately then it could be a pretty slow-moving or shallow story. The trick is to convey the degree to which the soldier or veteran in this case, is seeming remote even while feeling tortured..
We are progressing 6 chapters at a time and should be done in a month. At that point I think this will be a story by a veteran, about veterans, that should be easily understood by civilians.
Soldiers want all the same things everyone wants, love, acceptance and understanding. We all want to be accepted and helped. We want to share our lives and experiences with others and to understand the experiences of those others. We just can’t show what we feel. We are so protected that sometimes we don’t even know what we are feeling or at least we are not able to express it.
This is a book about the search for love and validation but in a very hard reality. It’s coming.