I’ve had the marked up manuscript for “Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero” since August and I have been making some steady progress.
One of the things my editor, Robert Runte’ said to me before I even saw the edits was, it would be a lot of work, but it would save me a lot of time in the long run (i.e. future novels). Seeing the items he has requested for revision, I would have to agree with him. Three stand out specifically:
1. Rushing Scenes
I’ve probably mentioned this before and I’m sure I’m not unique in this writing mistake. I have the bad habit of finishing a scene too quickly.
I’ve really looked at it (and myself) to better understand why I’m prone to doing this and I think I better understand it. When I’m writing, I have these great ideas for how I want the scene to go. I hit the paper at full speed and write like crazy. But, I eventually start getting tired of of it and want to move on to the next exciting scene. That sometimes means I finish it too quickly. I miss the opportunity to build suspense and engage the reader even more deeply.
Resolution: I’m now watching the scenes more carefully. I’m pretty sure I will still make the mistake, I’ve just to be sure I reduce it.
2. Straying from the Main Idea of the Story
Every story has a primary plot that drives the characters. There may be many minor plot threads that add more to the story, but the primary one must be taken to its proper conclusion. Everything needs to work toward that eventual finish.
It was pointed out that I have a few scenes that seem to stray off and not really help the story along. Worse, they aren’t really sub-plots that help either.
Resolution: scrutinize each scene to ensure that it fits. I’ve actually pulled a couple scenes completely from the story because they didn’t actually speak to the main plot. The good news is, they can all be reused in other books.
3. This mistake can be summarized as follows: “Is this really what my character would/should do?”
As the title of the book suggests, it is about a boy who is a superhero (or at least wants to be). There were a couple places where I let him act like a normal kid. Now, that in itself is not wrong, but he sometimes does things that don’t ring true to his ambition.
Resolution: I’ve done two different things to fix this. The first is to rewrite the scene into something that rings more true. The other, and this is my preferred way, is to have him act like a kid, and then remind himself that he isn’t an ordinary boy. He has taken on responsibilities (protecting the town and his family) and needs to behave accordingly. I like this because it emphasizes that he is a real boy. Not some comic book ideal who never makes mistakes.
So, there you have it. That’s what I’ve managed to learn in the first half of my revisions. I need to get back to it because this anticipation is getting harder and harder to deal with.