The man’s name was Mort Reed, and he has since passed away, but thanks to Mort I had to come face-to-face with the fact that I knew very little about writing fiction.
He did read my manuscript, and instead of the awesome praise I expected, he crashed my world, but in a way that made me determined to learn how to deal with writing this story that continued to haunt me.
Mort said, “Look, I know you write good magazine and newspaper articles, but this book will never get published. First of all, it is way, way too long. At that time the manuscript was about 700 pages. You see, I thought you had to have a BIG book in order to get published.
He continued, “It is filled with cliches and tangents that take me away from the core of the story. You have lots of information dumps, too. The gist of the story is good, but you need to learn how to write fiction, my friend.”
As if that wasn’t bad enough, as I tried to hold back the tears of humiliation, he gave me one more sage bit of advice. “I don’t feel your characters. You need to become them. Particularly the woman whose story this is. Feel her feelings, shake with fear like she does. Make the reader buy into it. If you can do all of what I’ve suggested, I think you’ll have a publishable manuscript.”
He was right, but it took many more years to become BETRAYED.