After my writing class, my instructor, Jill Santopolo, left me with some major plot suggestions that I hope will give my plot and characters more depth. So that’s what I did in May and June. Major overhaul.
The problem I found with changing the beginning, middle and ending (don’t laugh!) is that everything got all jumbled. So when I finished, I wasn’t sure if the story flowed. Did the characters develop? Did I plant those clues properly? And that love triangle- does it work?
Why? Because I was too close to the story. I needed to step away from it and put it in someone else’s hands. That’s where my Beta readers came in. My husband read it (and believe me, he isn’t an easy duck to please) and one of my writing friends and I switched manuscripts. I knew she’d be a good person to read my manuscript because she’s tough. No sugar talking going on there.
So this summer I took a break from my WIP, read like fifteen YA and MG books, and read my friend’s WIP (which by the way, was my favorite book I read this summer. Not kidding. It’s good).
The great thing about having someone read your book is they can: 1. Get a feel for the book as a whole rather than just looking at individual chapters. 2. Look at character development 3. Find all the cracks in your book’s floorboards 4. Point out the sags in the middle 5. Axe all unnecessary parts 6. Tell you what you need to do next
And vice versa goes for reading someone else’s book. I learned so much from this process. Yeah, there’s a trust factor involved. But if you can find the right person, it’s priceless.
Now it’s August and I’m opening my manuscript again after giving it a break and seeing it with new eyes. I know my story will be stronger for the process and I believe I’ve become a better writer along the way too.