Ok, why not? I'm starting re-writing the book AGAIN but with Jeff being the only hero and Ben's voice taken out completely, other than what he actually says.
This presents some challenges. One of the best things about dual first person narrative is you can get two different perspectives as stories diverge. So when Ben is rushed to the hospital we still are able to keep up with him while Jeff is somewhere else fighting off the evil that is Professor Ferguson.
A single first-person narrative takes that away. Now all the reader knows is what Jeff knows.
I did write to a friend of mine at Random House asking his professional opinion on the subject - can a dual first-person narrative work for middle grade boys? His answer didn't really surprise me, nor did it disappoint me.
He said: "I'll get back to you."
So more waiting. Meanwhile, I'm going to go through the manuscript for first person and then again with the dual first-person but with a very honed attention to detail. I don't think I've been obsessive enough about the quality. I've been sloppy.
Never be sloppy in the writing business. You have to tend to your art like you're manicuring a bonsai tree - careful, precise and every word intentional.
So, I'm off to clip some more.
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Great time had at the SCBWI conference on Saturday! And a big hello to my friends from that conference who've hopefully joined us here....