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  • dmjohnston3

EMPATHY - Writelog 10

I'm sitting at 35,000 words and am - temporally speaking - 42% finished. From here, it gets harder, then easier, then harder again.

It gets harder because what follows is the most emotionally potent part of the story, but also its most confounding. This is a section that is intentionally a little bit discombobulating. Things happen that aren't immediately obvious, they move very quickly, and no one in the story is quite certain what's coming. The audience is likely going to share in that feeling, and they'll figure it out along with the fictional figures before them.

Doing this, I'm reminded of all the times that some industry twit claimed that my work was "confusing" because a story had a slightly open ending, or because it was an epistolary work framed as a comment section (do people hyperventilate when they read to the bottom of a news article?). These people can come across as simple-minded, yet a far more likely explanation is that they assume that readers are simple-minded. I suppose that I have more confidence in people's ability to perform basic deductive reasoning.

All of this is just one more reminder that this work is poison to agents. They're inclined to want something more mundane, something with a banal anti-bullying message that doesn't challenge the reader and features clear-cut bad guys. Putting the reader into the mindset of the victim, and the minds of those around him, is going to be a lot messier while also defying easy moralizing.

Perhaps I'm the real twit here. I just wanted you, the reader, to understand panic. Maybe that's not marketable.

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