|Available on Kindle from 1st May 2014|
My first step was to let Maddie in on the family secrets that she’d originally spent most of the book uncovering. There were already a lot of puzzles and mysteries to solve relating to her current predicament; stating some of the backstory mysteries upfront would not spoil much of the rest of the story. Secondly I decided to bring some of the final revelations right in to the beginning, by promoting a relatively minor character to co-protagonist and giving her alternating point-of-view scenes. Thus, instead of the reader having to remember the mistakes Maddie made early on, and finding out at the end what the consequences were, the reader is now aware that Maddie is making mistakes as she makes them.
Next came the hardest part: I wrote a cull list of characters who could potentially be cut, and sketched out how the removal would affect the plot. I decided to delete four chapters straight off in order to keep the action moving in the right direction. My editor, Debby Harris, recommended maintaining a linear journey, rather than allowing Maddie to constantly retrace her steps. This suggestion gave me another means to organise and co-ordinate my rewrite: as much as possible, I grouped the events occurring at each location, eliminating whatever no longer served a purpose plot-wise. And, lastly, I cut every scene where I’d attempted to rein in my plot by allowing my supposedly intelligent and strong characters to behave like morons. Luckily Debby was not shy about pointing these out!
All that remained was to fill in the blanks I’d created with forty thousand new words. I said it was a simple solution; I didn’t say it was an easy, or a quick, one.
Previous posts counting down to a self-published book:
1 : Making the Decision
2 : Putting Together My Editing Team
|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|