I went a bit quiet for a while on this front. I was licking my wounds after the feedback I received from my editor.
Firstly, some advice. If you’re waiting for this kind of stuff to come in, and you happen to check your email at 3am when you wake up to feed the baby, and it’s there: NEVER OPEN THE EMAIL. I found it practically impossible to sleep for several hours afterwards.
I have to say, after having some time to consider the comments, I can’t really argue with the logic. There were a few key parts of the story that I had brushed over and hoped that no-one would notice. When someone came right out and said, “Why is this happening?” I felt like a rabbit in the headlights. I had no answer. I realised that I needed to go right back and think about the fundamental reasoning behind everything that was happening in my story. For a couple of days that felt like a great weight had been dropped on my head. I had nothing! I questioned everything from my motivation to my ability and, for a split second, even considered binning the whole project. Just for a split second, though.
It was a great big shock to me because I’ve not had anything but positive feedback on the story up until this point, even with beta readers I didn’t know. But then, that’s what happens when you pay a professional to look at this stuff: you get professional advice. And boy, does it hurt? You don’t expect a doctor to tell you everything’s fine when it isn’t. You don’t want the people in the garage to say your car’s running fine when the brakes are out, so I have to be serious about wanting The Ardenna Crossing to be the best story it can be.
So, a week later and I’ve come up with ideas on how I can get the story on track a again. It means, to use a well-worn phrase, ‘killing my darlings’ in some places, most notably my prologue and epilogue. I thought I was being really clever but apparently they’re just confusing, written in a style that will turn off my intended readership and don’t add anything to the overall story. What I wanted to do was drop hints at things that were happening way along down the tracks, but it would appear that I missed the mark.
I have thought of some, I think, decent reasoning behind the events that were questionable. It’s a little bit ‘Jurassic Park’ in places but it does explain why certain things are going on. It needs a little fleshing out but I’m more happy with it, and I can see why it was a problem.
Also, where I started, the first third of the book needs to be completely reworked and I need to have a good look at the kind of main character I have created in Paul Armstrong. Apparently, in the first third of the book, he comes over like a sulky, tantrum-prone seven-year old, rather than the complex 11 year-old I thought I’d created. Also, for a science fiction adventure, I need to get into the science fiction bit a whole lot quicker. there’s a big section of the book that’s devoted to his home and school life which I may have to completely redo and chop up. It makes sense as I was very new to the whole process back then. I definitely noticed that my writing, pacing and confidence improved as I moved into the second half of the book. This just confirms what I secretly knew already.
So, that’s where I am now. I’m not feeling as shell-shocked as I did last week. I have loads of work to do and I’m not sure exactly when I’m going to get it done, but I know that this is stuff that I need to do in order to make this story as great as I know it can be. Some of the scenes that I cut I’m going to drop onto the website as kind of a teaser.
I’ve already got my new prologue worked out. We open in a very, very opulent restaurant in New Delhi and a meeting between Bangladeshi billionaire Sinjon Choudhuri and one of his contractors.
So, that’s all there is to update you with at the minute. Like I said, I’ll probably drop a few ‘deleted scenes’ here once I cut them out, certainly the prologue that I wrote. It’ll give you something else to read besides Twin Peaks poetry!
Thanks for reading,