You know how, when you’re doing a major housecleaning, there comes a moment when you look around and see everything in shambles? You think your place will never be nice again. But you keep at it, and the next time you look around (it seems), everything is gorgeous. Well, that’s where I’m at with my novel, Great Wharf. The reason it’s in shambles is that I hired a former Random House editor to take a look and give me some feedback. Six single-spaced comment pages later, I knew I’d hired the right person. Now I’m about three months into absorbing her comments and about sixty percent done incorporating them. Summer travels, etc., have kept me from making faster progress, but I’m looking at a couple weeks of concerted effort now. And I’m hopeful.
The umbrella concept for many of the changes is that the novel currently straddles two genres and therefore won’t satisfy devoted readers of either (general fiction vs. suspense fiction). I’ve now committed to general fiction with a lot of suspense. Toward this end, I’m making two of the characters suffer more than they did before, which will create more intensity for the reader. I also need to pay more attention to the main protagonist’s character arc and to making sure she is somehow key to the resolution of the plot – which is perhaps my biggest challenge with the way I had structured the plot to begin with. Other changes include replacing certain summary descriptions with actual scenes, and switching from an omniscient point of view to multiple third-person point of view.
All told, I’m pretty much revising every single page to some degree or other. Thus, my manuscript is in shambles. I look forward to a clean printout down the road.
What’s the shambles in your work these days?
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