So, I finally wrapped up the posting of A Balmy Spring. As usual, it took much longer to post than I anticipated. RL issues interfere so often. I'd be content to write full-time if I felt I could support my family comfortably, but alas, tis not likely to be.
Let me take a pause to give a shout out to Dave & Evie and Pepere, the awesome volunteers who help the story be better than I can do on my own. D&E's feedback on characters and story arcs is a huge reason why my characters keep getting rave reviews from readers. And Pepere is the one who tries to keep my writing clean and error free. I say "tries" because I'm damn stubborn sometimes and have some pretty bad writing habits. He's patient, though, which makes him a godsend.
Speaking of "characters", this particular installment of Brody's story generated some of the most aggressive reader feedback I've ever received. Most of the feedback was positive, and the feedback that wasn't was tied to the emotional impact the story took on them. I hope I don't give anything away with my next comments about the story. I'll try to be cryptic. If you're afraid I'll spoil things, then don't read the rest of this post.
Several readers gave up midway through the telling when things got tough for Brody and his actions became undesirable. Several other readers threatened to quit reading if he didn't "shape up" sooner than later.
What that tells me is people really like Brody, and they expect better from him then he sometimes gives. I expect a lot from him, too, and while he often sounds and acts like a grown-up, he's still only sixteen and prone to stupid mistakes. Hell, I'm in my late thirties and I'M still prone to mistakes. The story as it's presented here is by and large what I intended to write from the beginning, and it took a lot of willpower to not change things to accomodate a few readers. I knew I had to remain true to my creativity, though, so I did.
This "remaining true" idea also became an issue when a couple of readers expressed dislike for the direction Cassie's character took. In her case, I'll admit that she evolved during the four stories, and that I hadn't intended for her to take this direction when I first introduced her into the story. I did, however, begin ABS with a clear direction for her, so I still remained true to my creativity. One reader asked me why I took Cassie the direction I did, and a large reason why is because I enjoy stories with this element included, and it really seemed to work with her.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the story. I'll spend some time while I'm taking a breather from writing to respond to e-mails people sent over the last couple of months. Thanks for reading and writing and encouraging me. It's always a pleasure to hear that others enjoy my writing as much as I do.