Saturday, July 25, 2009

Age of the Fallen: Origins - Feedback from Test Readers

(Age of the Fallen: Origins Series) From the beginning I started getting feedback on the story from different people. I was concerned that the story was compelling, the characters were entertaining and inspiring, and the writing style was gritty and fast moving. Well...I had to make some changes as the project moved forward.

First I had the Demons using filthly language (I mean the worst you can imagine!). I figured that our kids hear this language all day long in the world and I wanted to draw a good contrast with Aiko and her friends. So I used bad language for the demons and bad guys. My kids were concerned because they were sure that I had no idea how to cuss! After a few comments from moms and one of my editors I decided to tone it down to expand the audience. A good friend asked, "What are the two biggest stories of our time?" Answer: "Star Wars and Indiana Jones." "So, how much cussing was there? Did that take away from their impact?" I was convinced. Eventually I had to even take out the "goshes" and "darns" in order to have the book stocked in Christian Bookstores.

My Japanese friends loved the story but asked me to change some names because they were too unusual. Kisho became Takumi. Cho became Mai. And the brothers went from to Kane and Washi to Koh and Kai. A warrior in the book would also say, "In His Name" from time to time, but in Japanese it was better to say, "For His honor" because it would translate better.

I would always ask. "What is your favorite chapter?" And "Who is your favorite character?" My test readers loved "Theology" because it had the gospel in it, "Aiko's Folly" because it is hold-your-breath fast moving, and "Whore" because it was so touching. As for the characters, readers love the one brother who keeps things light throughout the book and always was the voice of doubt. Others loved Ishi (female) the strong loyal friend, soccer player, and next in command. But most got attached to Aiko because she is simply dauntless.

In the end, my editor loved it (was in tears several times) and my Japanese friends were touched by it. Here is the endorsement that I got from a dear brother, who loves God intensely, and helped with the editing.

"This timely and captivating novel will shock many readers; it is radical but entirely relevant. The author draws you into the mindset of Asian youth with startling clarity in this classic confrontation between good and evil. Olmos redefines the relevance of today’s church with prophetic clarity and theological fervor, interwoven within a storyline that is unique, compelling and highly creative." —Roger Lenk, Headmaster, St Michael’s International School, Kobe, Japan.

If just one young person is inspired to follow Christ closer and to take up his/her sword and engage in the spiritual war, I'll be blessed!



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