|Look at all the pretty colours...|
(a screenshot of the multiple edits of a now-deleted scene)
As a history major, I was taught to seek multiple sources of information, and, even with my own fictional brain-matter, I don’t feel comfortable until I’ve had several opinions on it. Since I had the budget, I decided to hire two editors for Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin, knowing that I might be tempted to outvote a single editor, but two against one would show me there really was an issue that needed fixing. I also placed a request for teenage beta-readers. And the final member of my team would be proofreader Julia Gibbs.
My editors, Sally Odgers and our own Debby Harris, both picked up on an “incomprehensible” beginning (caused, I have to confess, by not having a true antagonist in the first draft and trying to retrofit the bad guys) and a lack of explanation of key elements affecting the plot. Even more telling (and embarrassing) was that only one of my beta-readers actually managed to finish the book and provide feedback. Out of ten.
In addition, Debby Harris brought her thirty years of experience to bear when she pointed out that the fun I’d been having jumping my protagonist back and forth between Earth and an alternate world (Ground) had forced me as the writer to come up with plot threads to justify the situation, extra characters to carry out the extra threads (and provide expository information), and then extra complications to justify the existence of the extra characters. In effect my book and characters had run away with me. I had allowed the plot and characters to meander in the beginning—having fun, but not really doing anything of value—and towards the end I’d sprinted through the wrap up in order to complete the book before I birthed my daughter. Three quarters of the book had a good proportion of showing (but very little of it important to the plot); the last quarter was mostly exposition (and vital to the climax). And if I wanted to keep everything as it was, it was going to have to be a much longer book—or perhaps split over two books.
Or perhaps there was a simpler solution. But that’s a tale for the next post.
Countdown to a Self-Published Book 1 : Making the Decision
|Elle Carter Neal is the author of Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin, which is now available on Kindle. She is based in Melbourne, Australia. To keep in the loop about “Maddie”, join her mailing list here, or find her at ElleCarterNeal.com or HearWriteNow.com|