Monday, May 17, 2010

Fixing The Novel

I went back and rewrote much in NICE GIRLS DON'T BITE. I made my villain unappealing and slimy, I added two heartless Colombian drug lords intent on killing my girls. I made my first MacGuffin a red herring, then added a second MacGuffin, which turned out to be a red herring, then added a final surprise revelation of what the prize was. I deleted my climactic chapter. In it, I had tried to keep my girls pure, but the only logical thing to do was for them to reluctantly use their vampire transformation and scare the main villain into a confession. They may have tossed him around a bit and gnashed their fangs at him, but they DID NOT BITE. I actually thought the new final chapter was a winner. When all was done, I was still hovering around 90,000 words.

Then I had The Man I Married read the book. You think, yeah, yeah, her husband; what does he know? Fortunately for me he is a voracious and somewhat omnivorous reader with a fine sense of timing. He's not the "I really liked this chapter" type; he's the "Okay, the tension is off in this chapter. You need to move this conversation closer to the end and have it happen just after they learn where the villain is going. Then you'll have a ta-bump, bump right at the end that should spring people into the next chapter." He's that kind of guy. Isn't he wonderful? This time, upon reading the entire manuscript, he gave some good pointers, but looking at the book as a whole, he said, "You're too in love with writing dialogue. Your ladies talk too much, too long, and it's boring. You've got to seriously tighten up the whole novel. I had another moment of clearly seeing what I should have been seeing all along. I went back to the beginning, and tightened that puppy up! I now had a novel that was much less boring and had slimmed itself down to 85,000 words.

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