Monday, August 15, 2005

Gutsy, nutsy Dave Long to dissect own book

Author, Bethany House editor and--more importantly--one of my favorite bloggers, David Long is planning to pick apart a CBA ("Christian Booksellers Association") novel on his excellent blog, Faith*in*Fiction. In full view of his readers (who will be encouraged to participate), he will dismantle the chosen book like an old pocket watch and figure out what works and what doesn't.

If you're a careful reader, you'll have noticed that I just mentioned Dave is an editor. And you must now be wondering how on earth an editor could do this sort of thing in public. He can't very well critique a book from his own house, can he? But ripping up something of the competition's might look a bit sour-grapey.

That's why Dave has resolved to sacrifice one of his own books for the cause.

Yeah, the guy's nuts, as the ever perspicacious (and singularly unsqueamish) J. Mark Bertrand was quick to notice. Dave has tapped Mark, who earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston, to assist him in this endeavor. Let's cut to a blockquote from this post over at Dave's place:

The book that Mark and I are going to be examining is Ezekiel's Shadow.

Mark’s response when I asked him to participate is classic enough to quote:

“This is kind of like getting a request from a friend who wants to saw off his own head but needs help getting through the back half of the neck! So naturally, I accept. I'd hate to see your head lolling off the side, held on by half a vertebrae. Let's make a clean job of it. Thanks for thinking of me.”

My reasons on the surface for selecting Ezekiel’s are easy.
1. It’s out of print, OP, so BHP doesn’t stand to lose anything.
2. I wrote it, so it’s not like I’m attacking another author.
3. It’s flawed.

Whether there are deeper, darker reasons for my choice (morbid exhibitionism, the desire for vain self-flagellation, masochistic narcissism) I’ll leave to you armchair psychiatrists. All I know is that I want to talk about a CBA book critically and my position here doesn't allow that without me being reprimanded or fired. (Either of which I'd deserve.) So this is, pretty much, our only choice.

Wow. This promises to be a wild ride. Bookmark the site, everyone, and don't miss it.


Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to it. As it turns out, it was in my TBR pile since, sheesh, maybe 2001 or 2002. Dusty, even. So, I dug it out and I'm ready for the dissection. :D


J. Mark Bertrand said...

Dave's a pretty brave guy, huh? :)