The music is posted because it captures the mood of the story I’m working on…
But for the novel I’ve finished (sort of finished), an agent asked to see the first 155 pages. Well, I proofread those pages again and fussed with the formatting. On page 155 I looked for the place to stop, and conveniently enough, there was scene break on the page–and the scene ended with a short paragraph that had bothered me since I wrote it.
The scene came to me like any scene comes to any writer–inexplicably and with certainty that’s how it happened–but those few lines made me uneasy. Too bold? Too over the top? Did they make the young man too creepy and the young woman–the protagonist–too passive?
Writing books tell us to tell the truth, cut to the core, be fearless, and other such things to give us courage in the face of the blank page. Writing books warn us of being exploitive, over-the-top, sensational, and other sins. How to tell the difference?
I’ve been accused to the latter. Maybe “accused” is too strong a word, but such a possible sin was brought to my attention.
With that paragraph at the end of 155 pages I couldn’t (can’t) decide if my unease was caused by anxiety or by a subconscious understanding that it was too much.
I’ve been watching Twin Peaks, and David Lynch never seems caught in this way–which is hardly roundly admired for.
Of course, I don’t want the agent to think I’m a creep. I do want the agent to want to read more. Too far? Powerful? Icky? Honest? Then again, aren’t they nothing compared to a thousand other stories in the world? But those requested pages end there. End! The last image in her head.
Maybe this is a bit like asking if a picture of a woman without her clothes is art or porn. You know it when you see it?
After tapping my fingers on my desk for a while and feeling my stomach do loops, I cut the lines.
Still tapping my fingers…
Do you know when you’ve gone too far or when you’re afraid to go far enough?