This is the story of editing hell.
After finishing the first draft of my superhero story, I let it sit a couple of weeks. Then I read it. Then I almost vomited and cried and wanted to hit the delete key more than I wanted to breathe.
I took a deep breath and decided to take out all of my frustration and fury on paper. Here’s what I wrote:
What doesn’t work for this story?
- Characters aren’t well drawn or sympathetic. Now that we have the whole plotline, I need to flesh out these characters…give them the GMC treatment.
- The Mallory saving is a throwaway. Need to make that something more or drop it altogether.
- The rhythm is off…need a flow. A vision. A feeling.
- The whole book feels choppy and leaps in plot lines. Have to straighten out all the backstory and spread it out a little at a time instead of dumping it.
- It’s all introspection and no action–WAY too much introspection and telling. Too much over-talking and wordiness, too, in the dialogue.
- Each scene has to have punch, sensation, and a disaster at the end. I can’t sense any of that right now in any of the scenes.
- The training feels rushed and doesn’t feed to the final showdown. Or it feeds too much and has no stealth and surprise. Not really sure but expect it’s both. Either way, it’s not working.
- Missing all the words for the special powers. Also, need to settle on what exactly her special powers are. And everybody needs different powers. Right now it seems like they all have the same ones.
- The stuff about the “fourth” — is she or isn’t she the fourth? It’s never decided.
- And the stuff about the oracle saying he’s going to marry the fourth and how he wants to fight against that. Maybe cut the oracle part and have him already be engaged? Or have him being the leader of his people and not marriage material. Or do something because this isn’t working.
- I need an overall story arc. Right now, I think that’s why it’s choppy.
- What does she want? To find out who here parents were and why they left her in an orphanage. To find out why she never fit in anywhere. She was never loved and can’t find it in herself to love a man–think that’s because of her parents leaving her.
What’s good about the story?
- The title
Yeah. Do other writers do this?
I leapt into the edits like a parachuteless ninja, cursing myself continually with “If you wrote a better first draft then the second draft wouldn’t be a torture circus, ya know.” I’ve got 97 pages to go. The deadline is in 6 days.
Tell me again why I do this.