Reminder – Signing This Saturday
Who: Devon Monk and Diana Pharaoh Francis
Fun + chance to win ARC of HELL BENT
One of the reasons the revisions on STONE COLD are taking some time (today is day 20) is because the original draft I sent my editor was pretty darn rough. I’d been on deadlines, gotten a little behind on one, and then…well…let’s just say I was super happy to get the book back with her comments so I could dig into these revisions.
At the end of yesterday’s work, I realized the big climax of the book seemed kind of boring. Now, I’m the author, so it is my job to keep all the good stuff from the original draft, catch all the boring stuff, add in things to make it hang together better, change any emotional scene that doesn’t resonate, weed out plots that don’t pay off, bolster theme and pacing, multiply the fun, divide until conquered.
During revisions I have at least two versions of the book going on in my head, the original and the one in current revision form. I also have my editor’s comments, which sometime ask for something specific: “explain how this thing works” and sometime ask for something less specific: “I think this emotional impact could be bigger. Do you think you could bump it up?”
And here I was, staring at the final conflict, where the goodies and baddies clash and ZAP! BIFF! POW!…and I was bored.
Could have been I hadn’t taken a day off in three weeks and was just tired of working on the thing. Could have been something was wrong with the scene.
After a good night’s sleep (my replacement for a day off) I decided the scene was still boring.
I love putting magic in my stories, but the magic in my books isn’t a tangible experience we all share on a daily basis. And when magic is being used in a fight, I must do some explaining of what magic can and can’t do, what it costs to use or not use, what other options there might be, how bad/good we expect the outcome to be and etc. so that the reader can get on board with how much danger our characters have fallen into.
Just like any other weapon, Magic needs rules and limitations.
Saying, “This dude has his magic hand pressed at the back of this other dude’s skull” doesn’t kick off the DANGER DANGER instinct quite as quickly as saying, “This dude has a Glock pressed at the back of this other dude’s skull.”
See what I mean?
So I went back to basics. Listed what each character wanted the most, and what each was most afraid of losing. Listed how far they’d go BOTH MAGICALLY AND NON-MAGICALLY to get that thing they most wanted. And then I gave them options to have it all and lose it all and played out a few scenarios. (At this point, my amazing first reader had stopped by and we hashed through some possibilities. First readers rock!)
I’m very excited with how this scene is working now.
There is so much on the line in this part of the book, so much Shame has to deal with, has to choose. There are no easy choices for that poor boy. But then, hard choices make for good reading.