Crucial writing step

Q: What’s the difference between a dream about writing and a publishable novel?

A: Several months.

Several months away from the book is how long it takes me to gain the necessary distance to clear my mind in order to determine the state of the novel I am working on. It took several months for me to figure out what has to be done to turn the draft (N-tieth) into the product that will satisfy my writerly and readerly tastes. My novel about the Jesuits in its current form is a good example of a fast-paced thriller, the kind you pick up at an airport. Easy, enjoyable read. But, it’s not what I the writer want to release to the world. It needs more character depth, a slow down if you will. Plot is not everything. Not anymore. This is the book that is supposed to be my transition from thriller to mainstream. Commercial, to be sure, but also one that leaves an impression beyond the momentary thrills. So here I am, rolling my sleeves up and sitting down to what I hope will be the final version.

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