Beta readers of Life Continues have pointed out a variety of weaknesses in the book, and I am following most of their recommendations. Publication is still set for May 2016.
While making the changes it occurred to me: Angst is an easy topic for a writer. Conflict is fascinating, and it's easy to conceptualize and describe. Transformation without constant conflict is much harder to accomplish.
First part of the existing blurb:
Alex feels cast aside. He had finally accepted his mother’s death and begun developing a healthy relationship with his stepfather. Then Ethan remarries and starts a new family. They’re back to Square One.
While Ethan tries to help Alex adjust to the new circumstances, Alex plots to sabotage Ethan’s new marriage. How do you deal with a teenager trying to create new victims to join him in his misery? How do you love the stepson working to destroy you, the police officer wife who loves you, and the baby still on the way?
That has all been trashed for now. Angst is easy to conceptualize and describe, but I think by now in the Life Stories series it has reached its limits. I'm reconceptualizing the book as a story of evolution and growth. There will still be conflict - can't write fiction without it - but conflict will no longer be central to the story. It will be one of several influences on Ethan's and Alex's continuing growth and evolution. It's hardly a spoiler to say that Ethan and Carly marry. It's hardly another spoiler that Alex improves his ability to relate in a mature manner to those in his life.
Comments on a new story arc, scenes you'd like to see, and events and environments that promote change, are welcome. Right now, the book is a blank slate with some cryptic notes. Readers' participation in the book's development is invited and encouraged.