Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Aging Gracefully: Revisions, Part II

Yesterday I mentioned "aging" a character. How exactly do I do that?

By a lot of little adjustments. For instance, to give you a few examples in the case of Garreth:

- sheepish" became "roguish"
- "grumbled" became "muttered"
- a blush became a frown
- bouncing up and down with excitement became plucking his bowstring
- "the boy" or "the lad" became "the youth," "the young man" or his name
- Overall, he calmed down a lot, became a lot less "eager" and "excited."

Now (hopefully) Garreth seems more mature, and thus less likely to be mistaken for a boy of ten, which is important considering one of his jobs in the book.

And he does have an important job to do, something that I hadn't anticipated when I was first coming up with the story.

KNAVE'S HONOR involves an attempted abduction, a ruse and a rescue. These things have been part of the story from the get-go. However, my editor suggested a change to the set-up of the ruse, one that I agreed with in part because it went with something I'd used in the story of the first book of the series, MY LORD'S DESIRE, which introduced the hero of KNAVE'S HONOR.

Unfortunately, that involved making the set-up more complicated, and necessitated introducing Garreth, and three more secondary characters. Which was fine -- I like secondary characters.

However, I worried that these secondary characters and their activities could overshadow the main romantic plot, so after the set-up, I kept those characters "off stage" for most of the rest of the story.

Turns out my editor really liked Garreth and the heroine's maid, Keldra (another of the four new characters) and wondered what happened to them during the middle of the book. She wanted to see more of them, and she didn't think that would be a problem in terms of the overall story.

Keeping a balance between plot and subplot can be a tricky thing, and clearly, this time I'd erred on the side of caution.

So how to fix?

I'm going to be adding at least two new scenes of Garreth and Keldra. They'll be appearing more in two other scenes where they were either mentioned, or appeared briefly.

Adding scenes that are taking place between secondary characters and in a different location are, mercifully, much easier to insert into a manuscript than scenes involving the hero and heroine. Any time I add material about them, it's going to impact everything that comes after, so the revisions become much more extensive and complex.

However, those aren't the only subplot changes I have to make. More on them tomorrow.


Kimber said...

Yippee! Blogger, after a few weeks of denial, is letting me post today!

I have a big problem with secondary characters overshadowing the main characters. Something I have to ask each test reader.

Margaret Moore said...

The first time I had to do a major revision, that was why. That's why I worry about it.