Two weeks ago, I attended Ad Astra, and the weekend before that I assisted Sean at the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair. Somehow, somewhere in between those two weekends, I sat down with Sean and discussed his first read through of The Starry Rise.
Sean is my first reader, and I go to him for developmental feedback. He always asks about my intentions before offering suggestions—the sign of an excellent editor, if you ask me. For this book, based on my explanations, he pointed out where Ule’s emotional journey was inconsistent in the beginning, suggested that one of the characters didn’t really need to be in the story, and gave suggestions for fine-tuning the ending.
Since our meeting, I’ve had time to ponder over the repercussions of making those changes. The character he suggested removing, I realize I am not as attached to as I thought. Removing this character actually resolves a problem that I have with another character, who isn’t fully realized. In many instances, the soon-to-be-extracted character’s actions and dialogue can be assumed by the not-fully-realized character, and now I can see who she is.
The relationships between the remaining characters will be more dynamic as a result of the character extraction, with more potential for tension and conflict. Also, it will turn the cast into a predominantly female one, which will counter the predominantly male cast in the first book, The Forgotten Gemstone, making for a nice framing device in this trilogy, which slides all over the place with gender and sexual orientation fluidity.
Early this week, my second reader, Donna, finished up her first read-through. She’s very good at line editing, often pointing out to me better words to use, pushing for more clarity. This time around, she’s reading a manuscript that is considerably less polished than what she’s accustomed to reading and yet she still offered to do a second read through once this draft is done. She’s such a trooper.
As an experiment, I’ve been entering both Sean and Donn’as edits simultaneously as I work on the book in small sections. Oddly, I fine myself entering Donna’s line edits first, then doing the necessary revisions and rewrites, which is reverse to how editing should be done. Entering line edits has turned out to be a great warm up though, and by the time I’ve entered them for a chapter, I’m immersed into the story enough to do deep structure revisions. Hey, whatever works to get the story ready for publication, right?
I’ve been adding my revised words to the WIP metre in the right hand menu. As of this week, I met my goal of getting 10% of the manuscript revised, which works out to six full chapters and 3 partial chapters, specifically the dream sequences in those partial chapters.
In addition, I’ve discussed the basic elements of the cover art concept with Sean, and in a couple of weeks, the initial sketch should be ready for tweaking. So, stay tuned for more updates for The Starry Rise.