Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What The Editor Saw: Revisions, Part 1

One of the things that confused my editor about my latest manuscript (KNAVE'S HONOR, the sequel to THE NOTORIOUS KNIGHT, out any day now!) was the age of one of my secondary characters, named Garreth.

I confess I was initially confused by her confusion, because I was pretty sure I'd specified how old he was. And sure enough, on Page 32 of the manuscript, he's described as "a youth of about sixteen."

Now, I could have gone all Huffy Indignant about this. Because hey, I told her right there how old he was.

But...but, but, but: I always think that if an editor's confused, chances are a reader will be, too. So the fault does not lie with my Esteemed Editor; it lies with me. And it's up to me to fix it.

As I went back through the manuscript, I realized that while I'd told the reader how old Garreth was, I'd shown him younger. I often referred to him as "the boy" or "the lad." His dialogue sometimes had a real "golly gee!" quality that likewise made him seem younger than I'd intended.

So now I have to go through the manuscript and look at every scene Garreth's in, to revise the way I refer to him and to "age" his dialogue, to make sure he sounds more like a young man and not a little boy.

I'll also be writing more scenes featuring Garreth. But I'll talk about my subplot revisions tomorrow.


Maureen McGowan said...

What a great show don't tell and characterization example. So often we see the characters so clearly in our minds we don't understand why readers don't too... But that's what critiquers and editors are for. :-)

Margaret Moore said...

Thanks, Maureen!

And that's why it pays to listen to them. :-)

Christine d'Abo said...

That's an excellent point, something I'll have to keep my eyes open for.