Getting any book ready for publishing is challenging for many reasons, but one key one is simply the thought “Is it good enough for publishing?” I have heard of a number of writers who just blindly go ahead, but I really thought that there were considerable potential benefits with having the manuscript professionally evaluated.
We subsequently submitted “The Odessa Chronicles” to Friesen Press … and waited!
Their report covered a number of comments around the sequencing of the stories; a few story lines with “loose ends”; inconsistencies; phrases which rather distract and detract from the overall narrative, and the expected technical issues (grammar, spelling, paragraphs).
Having a professional evaluation did seem to be well worth the cost. However, this post was triggered by an additional comment made by the evaluator about our successful breaking of a “fourth wall”!
I had never heard of a “fourth wall”, let alone know how to successfully break it … but apparently we did! As much as book reviews are so important in marketing a book, and give the author a good feel for what they accomplished, the following unexpected “fourth wall” comment simply confirmed that “The Odessa Chronicles” was meant to be published!
Note: The “fourth” wall is apparently when real people enter a story which is fiction, and interact with the fictional characters! i.e. In “The Odessa Chronicles”, Carolyn and I visit our characters at Moonbeam Farm, and spend some time with them!
The following is copied from the Editor’s Manuscript Evaluation received from Friesen Press
*** ***** ***
Breaking the fourth wall.
Introducing or acknowledging the writers (or the characters AS characters) within a piece of fiction is always INCREDIBLY tricky, and should only ever be done with a great deal of consideration and care. Generally, even when done well, it should only be done very sparingly, as it throws the reader out of the flow of the narrative.
Somehow, however, you two have made it work so well that it actually adds a great deal to the narrative. It actually reminded me of some of my favourite old Warner Brothers cartoons, with Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck yelling at the animator, who keeps erasing them and drawing them with weird outfits or bodies. It was always so surprising and unusual that those cartoons stood out as being somehow special.
Your stories share that quality. Very young readers are likely to be a bit confused by it, at first, but with a bit of parental assistance, should find it very amusing. Older kids, and adults, should be inspired by the almost metaphysical nature of the reality you have created. And anyone with a fairly introspective nature could easily find themselves asking deeper, philosophical questions about the nature of their own reality.
The creativity it showcases, as well as the cleverness and skill with which it was carried out, should definitely help your stories achieve critical success.
*** ***** ***
For more information about “The Odessa Chronicles”, please click the link (book cover) over in right side column.