Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart - the brilliant professor from Bethel University - or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tightening Strings

If I don't tie up all the strings in Killer Eyes, I've found it very important to at least tighten them. An interesting new way I've discovered to go about it is to list on a separate paper all of the pages where the subplot occurs with one of the supporting characters. Then, with that paper sharing the screen with the main manuscript, I go over each page, working my way through it, and scrutinize every aspect of what is going on in every scene in that subplot.

I've found doing it that way made it very clear just what it was that needed improving. And last night I did just that. Until about 2 in the morning. It's like, I said to myself, hey wait a minute. Why is he doing this in the first place? So I put in the reason for the subplot in the very first appearance of the character. Then it was like okay, that's why he's doing that, but then, why does he end up doing this other thing? So I made someone else do that other thing, and it's no longer an issue.

Then it was like, okay, but how does he get this? So I put in how he gets it. But then I found myself asking okay, but how does he know how to get that? So I made clear a little later just how he knew how to get that. (Of course, I'm being unclear on purpose. The book is not out yet, and I don't want to give away spoilers.)

But doing it that way almost makes it like reading a short story without all of the main story line distracting you. It's so much clearer, that any discrepancies became plain as day. And fixing them took a lot less time than if I was reading the entire MS from beginning to end. Doing that might have prevented me from finding those discrepancies.

It's like I've been saying all along. The more you do something, the better you get at doing it. It's happened with everything I've done. And now it's happening with writing. Well, for the past five years, it has. And I'm loving every minute of it.

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