I must admit, I thought the story would not be as good after such a huge revision, but it is actually much better than before. It is much more focused with fewer things to explain and with a much faster pace.
As Pearl would surely say, “I have probably had more failed plans than anyone, but a failed plan simply means you are closer to the solution.” And so I remained as persistent as Pearl and treated each day of rewriting as a new opportunity.
The character called The Bottle Cap Lady has been completely rewritten. She is no longer a shadowy and possibly scary character, and she now only collects soda pop bottle caps. She is more like a human version of Pearl because they both like collecting things, wearing hats, and doing silly things. They have both always felt like they were never quite loved and accepted like others. Most importantly, they both have felt the loss of someone they loved very much.
There are still happy things and sad things because a chicken’s life (and a person’s life) can be that way. Blanche still becomes sick and dies on Easter Sunday in this version because that is what happened in real life.
But her illness and death bring into sharper focus The Promise of Easter, the promise that Love makes all things new. Then rest of the book is built more on The Promise of Christmas, the promise that Love gives its very best even to those who have nothing to give in return. These reinforce Blanche’s original message about laying an egg. “Laying an egg is all about giving. Light and Life and Love are all about giving too.”
What was once a 40,000 novel with an undetermined audience has become an 8,000 chapter book with a 3rd grade reading level. This seems to be where it belongs best. There is also a happier ending with Pearl and The Bottle Cap Lady becoming friends with the possibility of future adventures together.
Honestly, I could really use some test readers to make sure the story works as it should and also remains true to how sweet and wonderful Pearl truly is. As I tell her each day, “No chicken has ever had a better heart than yours.”
A huge amount of appreciation goes out to my volunteer test readers! This option is now closed while I prepare the files.