Quite possibly the most bone-chilling moment for a man floating down the river in a fishing boat or inner tube is the soft, sweet sound of a banjo. The very image of it brings to mind something that Warren Beatty should never, ever be proud of. You hear certain lines, you picture… who knows what you picture. It is something that can gives nightmares to any Yankee visiting the deep South. Hell, it gives Southerners something to worry about while camping.

I don’t care how many awards it may have won.

Leaving a reader with that image is hard to do. You don’t want them to be thoroughly depressed (or scared witless) as they try to navigate the pages of your own personal Deliverance. You have a knife edge balance to maintain while writing your book, a precarious perch in which to stand on a single foot while juggling multiple subplots. Remember as you’re editing to keep in mind the viewpoint of the reader. Everyone interprets the book in their own little way (it’s why I love people who tell us what Shakespeare really means while we’re in college… I want to shake them and ask “So you spoke to Shakespeare in a non drug-induced haze of questionable smoke while surrounded by a bunch of self-proclaimed potheads?”)  and while you cannot please everyone, you have to remember that target audience I keep harping about.

But beware… there’s banjo music in them there rapids ahead.

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