So, we’re back in March… and I’ve been signed by the lovely Claire Wilson at RCW… It’s now time for revisions.
One of the reasons that the decision to go with Claire and RCW was so easy was that she took the time and trouble to tell me all her key thoughts about the book and how I might edit it in preparation for submission to potential publishers. And ALL of her ideas were brilliant: sensitive and smart and with a real sense of who I am as a writer and what I am trying to do in The Bone Dragon. There wasn’t a single comment that I didn’t actively want to take.
I knew that I had been very, very lucky to find an agent so completely on the same page and so willing to support me in achieving what I wanted, rather than what might fit most neatly with the current ‘big thing’. Every one of Claire’s comments helped not just to make the book better but to make it an even better version of the book I wanted to write (not always the same thing).
So, what did the comments involve? Well, one was to ‘drop’ a character and give her actions to an existing character. Claire felt that the problem character, although interesting and well-written, was very much set apart from the other characters and the rest of the plot. Cutting the character would, she argued, make everything ‘tighter’ and more claustrophobic, heightening the intensity simply through making the world of the book was as small as possible.
She was spot on about all of this. But…
I didn’t do exactly what she suggested to fix the problem. I knew that the other characters couldn’t fill the gap that the problem character filled: none of them could, even collectively, deliver the same functions – not only because of who they are but because of who my protagonist, Evie, is. Her character, and how it drives her to approach other people, means that she just wouldn’t interact with the other characters in the way she does with my problem character.
So what to do?
Well, I set about applying my usual rules of thumb about dealing with feedback… and those – and the results – are what I’ll post about next.