So where does this revelation leave me? Well, for one thing, it allows me to let go of one of my too-many viewpoint narratives. Now you might be thinking, why not rise to the challenge and just re-write this character? I would consider doing this, except that what I'm looking for now is reasons to pare away at narratives. In other words, my characters are all in a survival-of-the-fittest contest, and any sign of weakness means they're going to get cut away at, or at least marginalized, in the next draft.
Likewise, my BE thought there was an "imbalance of power" between the men and women in my novel. I've created strong, middle-ground women, but all my men are either too weak or too macho. He asked, "Where's the relatable guy?" I thought this was an extremely insightful question, because I do have a middle-ground, everybody's man character - Marcus - except that, apparently the way that he's currently written, he's not coming across that way! My BE confirmed that, all-in-all, Marcus has a lot of potential, and his narrative could even be heightened so as to make him a protagonist. So my challenge now is to raise Marcus up to the level of a strong, relatable male worthy of carrying the story.
There were a number of other valid, constructive points my BE shared with me which I'll write about in the next post ("The Truth Has Set Me Free, Part II). So let me end here with a ...
FIGURING IT OUT AS I GO: Take your editors by the shoulders if you have to and demand the bare-bones truth from them. The revision process is no time for ego-stroking praise. You know you can write. Now is the time to claw your way above "good amateur writer" status and strive for genius!