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January, 2016

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In this issue... The Feast of your Writing


The Feast of your Writing

by Bruce L. Cook

Authors - thinking of your readers - compare your manuscript to a delicious feast composed of various delicacies. ... (continued below)










Computer Programs (continued)... (continued)

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Authors - thinking of your readers - compare your manuscript to a delicious feast composed of various delicacies.

The reader glimpses the whole serving and begins with a favorite, progressing through exiting meats, veggies, and delicacies, fully expecting satisfaction at completion. The author is host and the reader a guest who wants to feel closure, even if the act of eating was sheer gluttony. The guest expects to thank the host, the author, at the completion of such a pleasant read.

Now imagine a writer who feels secure with a major publisher. No longer needing to serve publisher or reader, this one indelicately pulls one or more of the delicacies away after the reader has started. The reader feels jilted. Why did the writer fail to resolve the conflict or otherwise offer a satisfactory completion? Is there another volume ahead in which closure will be reached?

If not, the reader feels shocked and wonders whether the writer is teasing, perhaps the writer simply felt bored with such a writing task.

Amazingly, this seems to have happened with a prominent best-selling book which became the basis of a PBS Masterpiece Theater TV series. Despite this seeming success, the reader has to be satisfied with just part of the meal. Yet, even vaunted reviewers, so eager to just document the plot, neglected to notice the omission of at least one chapter at the end of the book.

Thus was the case with The Rector’s Wife by Joanna Trollope, a descendant of Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope.

In the final chapter, the reader sees the Rector’s wife talking to the gravestone of her late husband, who has just suffered death as a result of being told she was having an affair with their neighbor. (True, she was having an affair, but with Jonathan, another man - not her neighbor.) She insists that her late husband can hear her.

But nowhere does the story deal with the outcome of her intense relationship with Jonathan, which has been extensively documented through the novel. The reader is left to guess whether she ever saw the former lover again. This is unfair to the reader. I feel it is a result of a writer so confident with being published that the reader has become just an appendage to her imperfect craft.

Author, as a warning, never neglect your reader in this way. Always resolve the conflicts you create. To a conscientious author, one who cares about the reader, The Rector’s Wife’s omission would be intolerable.

In this case I would assume that the TV version added content to resolve the impasse. But a book needs integrity within itself. It cannot and should not be dependent upon external productions to finish its work.

And incidentally, when you offer a feast to a friend, never pull a delicacy away half-eaten.



Humanity´s existence is on peril. Its worst enemy is not only violence, war or terrorism, but also a profound lack of love, sensibility and empathy. A complete change for all of us is possible, but only will arrive from an innovative thought and a serious research on the possible ways out. 

The solution to our problem hides in this book…Let us find the cure to this severe illness that is causing the decadence and perhaps death of our blue planet Earth. 


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Publishing New Writers,

January 2016 (no. 1701)


Dr. Bruce L. Cook
1407 Getzelman Drive
Elgin, IL 60123

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