P.T.S.D (the book): Writing Concept vs. Execution

P.T.S.D (the book): Writing Concept vs. Execution

Since I write about military characters with PTSD and other injuries, I was naturally attracted to P.T.S.D. (nothing like putting the theme of the book right out there in the title!)

It had the potential to be very good. And I really tried to get into it. I especially liked the character of Gerry; I felt the author did a good job developing his voice and the “slippery slope” he found himself on psychologically. The premise was brilliant (a veteran confessing to crimes he can’t remember committing) and the end twist was good (although it felt rushed). I would have liked to see the secondary characters more developed.

The problem was, it jumped all over the place. It changed point-of-view in the middle of a scene, switched from first-person to third-person with no warning, and was generally hard to follow. There were entire chapters of backstory, or what I suppose could be called flashbacks (although I usually think of flashbacks as being shorter). Some of this I found compelling, and I think the author’s intention was to try to show us how Gerry got to where he is. But there was so much of that, it got confusing to connect it with what was going on in “present day” chapters.

Flashbacks are difficult to do well, and should be used sparingly; otherwise they take the reader out of the story too much. I remember struggling with the same thing when writing Last Chance Rescue; if memory serves, I cut about eight chapters near the front of the book to start the story where it really started!

The story idea was such a great one, but the book felt like the author’s first book, with typical first-time editorial issues. Unfortunately, those issues cut into my enjoyment of this book. It needed a good editor!

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