Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Ding! A lightbulb editing moment

Yesterday I had a ding! moment.  On pages 14 and 15 of this month's Writing Magazine, Lorena Goldsmith talks about the common shortfalls in fiction and how to avoid them in a new series about self-editing.

I read it with relish.

For months now something about The-Novel-Previously-Known-As-Silver has been bothering me.  First I thought it was the structure but lately I've been thinking about the plot. 

Lorena's fiction shortfalls include;
  • the conflict not being strong enough
  • plot holes
  • inconsistencies
  • too many red herrings
  • the conflict not escalating
  • the sequel trap
  • loose ends
While I began to ponder about whether The-Novel-Previously-Known-As-Silver fell into any of these pitfalls, one caught my eye and my breath.
That was it!  That's what's wrong with the manuscript!

It's obvious really and right in front of me all along, I just needed to read it in black and white and out of context.

Now my mind is whirring with solutions but I can't touch the manuscript until the publisher comes back to me. 
I know, I know, I shouldn't have submitted my manuscript anywhere until I was absolutely ready.  But I followed the rules; put it away for a while and then come back to it.  In fact, I did this twice.  I was happy with it.  The truth is that writers are always learning and growing and I've learned enough since finishing the fourth or fifth draft of The-Novel-Previously-Known-As-Silver to know that I went wrong somewhere.

So where does that leave me?  I won't tell you where I've gone wrong because it's actually embarrasing and I should know better.  It's also glaringly obvious from the synopsis, which can mean one of two things;
  • the publisher is rubbish and doesn't know what they're doing!
  • it isn't actually that much of a big deal!  It's still a good premise and worthy of reading.
I really hope it's the latter!

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