Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Few Notes On Old Wounds

I've now heard from two people who've finished Old Wounds.  Both seemed to really like it, with one of them telling me that she thought it was perhaps my best novel yet.  That's extremely gratifying to hear!

As anyone who's even read the cover blurb for the book knows, the main character is asked to write the eulogy for his great-uncle after the old man dies in his sleep.  As I working my way through the book, I wasn't 100% sure whether I would actually include the eulogy in the story.  In other words, I knew the narrator would end up creating the eulogy, but I didn't know if I wanted or needed to provide it to the reader.  The further I got in, though, the more convinced I became that it could serve a powerful purpose if I wrote it well enough and presented it at the right point.  (Funny story: the first draft had it in the Epilogue, and Vicki asked why I'd put it there instead of at the end of Chapter 13, which was already entitled 'Famous Last Words' at that point.  In trying to answer her question, I immediately realized that she was completely right and I'd simply been stupid in my original placement of it.  Thank goodness for wise and insightful spouses!)

Anyway, as soon as I decided to include the eulogy itself, I realized that I had no idea how to write one!  I've only been to a handful of funerals in my life so far (fortunately), and I'm usually too overcome with emotion at them to pay much attention to what's being said about the deceased.  I considered researching famous eulogies - JFK's, or Einstein's, or whatever - but instead just sat down and started writing.  It took me about two hours, but by the end of that time I had something very close to the final version of Uncle Howard's send-off by his great-nephew Michael.  I haven't had any specific feedback on that portion of the book yet, but I personally thought it came together quite well.  I'd definitely like to hear what readers out there think, once they've gotten that far.

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