Comments are arriving from readers of “Chalice” as we approach the end of April. This continues to be a very valuable process.
There will be more rewriting than I’d hoped, and not at the ending, where I expected to put in the work. For the most part, readers affirm the conclusion of the novel. I was worried it would feel contrived. While there is still some tweaking, I am satisfied and reader response has been rewarding.
But several thoughtful people were so put off by the beginning that they did not believe a relationship could develop between the two characters. The irony is that this was intentional on my part.
I created an immediate conflict between the two to get a reader to invest and to display a difference in values. That was the “hook.” I think it is possible to start a friendship with a disagreement that can move to deeper discussion as people get to know one another. We enter relationships for many reasons, which is a major theme of the book.
But several readers reacted to this in a visceral way. If I want them to get past the first 70 pages, they need reasons besides an intellectual exercise. Several suggestions have been made, from an opening external crisis to simply toning down the personality. Perhaps more description of the allure will work.
We’ll see what the bookseller has to say, and there are other comments still to come in.