I will confess here, but to no others, that I had the wonderful idea of stealing a writing technique from no other than F. Scott Fitzgerald. Mr. Fitzgerald was eminently successful with changing POV, or Point of View technique. With a new character on the scene, he would have him or her introduce themselves in the first person, after which, the narration would return to a third person POV. And that is the technique I stole from the Master, F. Scott Fitzgerald. For him, it worked, but for me and The Tipping Point, not so much.
So, I asked myself, I said, “Walter, how can that be?”
The answer came quickly but not from me. The answer came from my muse, who at that particular time, was sitting serenely on my shoulder.
“Execution!” she shouted in my ear without hesitation. “And besides, Fitzgerald was talented.”
Okay, that last part I really didn’t need right then. My ego was down around my ankles already. After her exposition, I asked, “Muse, anything else that jumps out at you on this very uncomfortable subject?”
“Sure, any number of things. Want me to enumerate all of them?”
“No! But how about giving me the next two things that I can learn from F. Scott Fitzgerald.” I said.
“Two? Only two things? Okay, that’s an easy one. First, F. Scott used only a handful of characters in his novels. It is true. Pick any one of his stories and you can see the few moving parts therein. You, on the other hand, Mr. Say-it-in-a-bunch-of-words, have fifteen principal characters and a plethora of minor guys in TTP1. Do you need so many people?”
“Yes, there are only as many characters as are required to tell the tale. The story is what it is. I can’t be chopping up the story…for you or F. Scott. By the way, where do you get off calling a writer of his renowned F. Scott?”
“We worked together on Gatsby. I got to know him pretty well back then. Okay, fine, keep all the characters, but there is something that will help on the confusion front. How about using one name to identify a character instead of the endless sobriquets, handles, nicknames, first names, last names, given names and pet names you interspersed in the 354 pages of TTP1.”
“Well, I am not sure you’ll want to know this, but in The Tipping Point 2nd edition, because of editorial changes and the changed format, there are now 524 pages.”
“Good grief! Why didn’t you listen to those you asked for advice? Hey, this is murder mystery, not War and Peace, you know?” my Muse remarked.
“No, it is not War and Peace, but the story is no less inspired than was Leo Tolstoy. And as a point of information, his novel has 134 characters. I’m way short of that. Hey, Muse, let’s not do a review of classic literature here. We discussed the format changes and the name business, so what else do you want to say.”
“The story has been fleshed out a bit.”
“I’m not sure how you mean that, fleshed out,” I said.
“I mean some new scenes are added that help to better explain the scene or the character’s arc in the story. You know, fleshed out. Frankly, I like it. You done good, Bro.”
“Thanks …I think.”
“Are you giving TTP2 a different ISBN in order to get rid of the bad reviews?” she asked
“You are referring to the International Standard Book Number unique numeric commercial book identifier number?”
“What else would I be talking about,” said the Muse.
“No, and they were not bad reviews, just not high scoring reviews. I happen to agree with most of the criticisms. No, the new edition will have the same ISBN and cover. All the prior comments that applied to the first edition are there for all to see, forever. The second edition will have to stand on its own and get the reviews that readers deem appropriate for it. The same story, the same characters, but rewritten to acknowledge and correct those valid comments made by well-meaning reviewers.”
“Did it work for you?” the Muse asked the author.
“We’ll have to wait to see what the readers and reviewers have to say. I for one, think that they will like the change. I do and hope that my readership does as well.”
The Muse slipped off of my shoulder, stood upright in front of me and placed her hand on my shoulder. Then, looking me in the eyes, she said, “So do I, my friend, so do I.”