If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I’m knee-deep writing Resuscitation, the sequel to They Never Die Quietly. I completed the first draft a few weeks ago and asked three people—all with strong literary skills—to read the manuscript and offer constructive feedback. I asked them to be brutally frank; I would gain nothing from diplomacy.
Well, I got what I asked for. All offered comprehensive criticisms that I must admit knocked the feathers right out of me. Each one read the manuscript individually and never spoke, yet they saw the same things . Of course, each of them found specific problems unique to his or her critique as well. However, on the major issues—those most important—it was as if they had worked together. When three people, all strong fiction readers, tell you the same thing, you’d better listen.
So, now I began the tedious process of editing, pruning, fleshing out scenes, building stronger characters, correcting continuity issues, cleaning up grammatical mistakes, checking punctuation, and tightening the story. It’s a lot of intense work, but the finished product makes it all worth the effort. Unless, of course, my agent can’t sell the damned book and it ends up in the recycling bin. Then, it’s time for me to consider a different career.