Well, before I get too far into this post… I yes, am going to edit HTSR again. Taking a break. Gadzooks! Am I sick of that book or what?
BUT. Don’t kill your manuscript (at least, entirely) while those wonderful rejections come in (or nothing at all).
KEEP the research you’ve done on all things too technical to keep in said MS. Why? It may come in handy for that next novel. The one you should be working on while you wait for an answer from agent or publisher.
Besides. It gives you time off to let the manuscript cool until your eyes are fresh.
I keep a copy of each MS I edit… Okay. I am OCD about this. What if? I mean, really. What happens if an agent/PH wants more of *insert whatever you edited out.* It also shows me how bad my writing was to how it has improved. Rejections are not failures, by the way. They are good reminders that our work needs work.
Ask me, I know all about character changes. Well, not all, but a lot more than when I began. Don’t give your MC a flaw then never deal with it, or overcome it. That’s an obstacle he/she must overcome to get the goal. A cop out to let him/her continue in her fear yet conquering the villain(s). In a series, by the end of it, he/she had better deal with this in a HEA sorta way otherwise you disappoint your readers. Leaving readers hanging at the end of book one is also a bit of a cheat. Sometimes.
What if your MC knows everything from Arabic to piloting a helicopter? Is it realistic? Well, look at some of our military. Yes. It is. Or can be. Think: JASON BOURNE. Able to speak a zillion languages, memorize every car license he sees, kill with a pencil, keep weapons secret, as well as big money. Have ten passports . Did we suspend believability?
IT DEPENDS. If said character has never done this, well then, YES. If your character is part of a SEAL team or CIA, maybe not. Even if in a fake shadowy government ‘wet work’ research arm. Jason Bourne had amnesia except how to do previously said ‘everything.’ That now, is a freaky flaw.
Does this mean Jason was perfect? NO. He is emotionally damaged, walking around wondering just who the heck he is, falling in love perhaps for the first time since becoming an assassin… since losing his memory.
(image courtesy Fandom and Wiki)
Can you tell I loved Robert Ludlam?
What about Matthew Knight in Knight and Day? HI-larious, despite less than great reviews. Poor fMC keeps passing out, usually with the help of a knock out drug or Vulcan grip. Her handling of an automatic? TOO FUNNY. Most of us would be more or less in her position. We can relate to her angst. Her flaws. We don’t really see his flaws unless he is 1. presented with real romance and 2. physically in danger. AND fMC changes to overcome scary obstacles to save the man she loves, even if her methods suspend our belief a wee bit.
When you let your manuscript cool a few weeks, look at your characters. They make the script. Then obstacles make it sing for the MC who has to overcome said obstacle(s).
Villains – total cop out if they are too stupid to outwit your MC. Really.
In the Bourne Identity, the end was a HEA. The obstacles overcome (so he thought), he joined the love of his life. The second and third novels brought a new obstacle. Revenge. Repentance. The novels are better than the movies, but since I love Matt Damon’s acting and the rush of the action in film, it’s okay that the Ludlam novels had significant changes.
Let me know if any of this has encouraged you. OR discouraged you. I figure, if your passion is writing, just keep on, no matter how many times you’re rejected.
And, if anyone wants me to read and evaluate the first 50 pages of your manuscript, it’s a ten buck deal. Link to my WordPress here…
and FB page at: