Okay, maybe not so secret. I’ve been struggling with this latest rewrite on my novel.
When I received my beta readers’ comments, I read through them, nodded vigorously, and spent the next ten days revising my WIP with these comments in mind. I think they added a lot to the story.
Then I received the comments from my paid editor.
I read through them twice. I pondered them. I told myself over and over again that editors are usually correct and these are changes I need to make.
But actually making them?
That hasn’t really happened easily. After more than a month, I have completed less than 1/3 of what I did in ten days for beta reader comments.
But then I’m not terribly surprised.
I read the comments again, and one recommended that there was so little going on in the story that I should consider chopping it down to a novella. That surprised me as one of my beta readers liked how plot driven this novel was.
But then who wants to be told about a character’s emotional state more than once in a romance novel? Yes, that was sarcasm. Sorry.
Interestingly, one of my beta readers wanted more description of character emotion.
Another comment recommended using flashbacks to tell the back story rather than have so much of it come through dialogue. After all, who is Auburn and Eli? That told me the editor hadn’t done any research on me, or read the part where I told her this was the second book of a series. It also told me she didn’t read much in the romance genre as I can’t remember once, in over thirty years of reading romance novels, where an author used a flashback. I’ve also read a lot of writing advice about not using them as it rips the reader out of your world.
I’m not certain the editor was revising a romance novel with a mystery supporting it. I think she was revising a mystery with a romance in it. But that’s not what I wrote. Or what I wanted to write.
I’m now more than a month away from when I received the editor’s advice. I will take some of it. For example, I will try to give you more insight into the villain and why he was doing what he was doing. Make him appear less one-dimensional and motivated by more than greed and jealousy. I can do that. I can also try to throw in a few more red herrings.
But honestly, I am starting to see how bad advice can be worse than no advice at all. Worse yet is bad advice mixed with a bit of good. Trying to sort through it and pick out the parts that work, without swallowing the bad parts, is tricky.
It’s extremely hard to put so much of yourself into something like a book, then hand it out to a stranger. A professional, but still a stranger, and pay for their help to make it better.
It’s harder still when you’re not sure they’re right.