Thursday, June 24, 2010

Taking Suggestions

blog75 I’m definitely happy to take editorial suggestions from my agent or editor.

But sometimes I really need time to get adjusted to a new idea.

I handed in a partial manuscript to my agent on Monday and heard back from her Wednesday. She liked the sample, but suggested that the police play a bigger role in my story than the generic mentions I’d given them (I’m using an amateur sleuth in the book.)

I saw her point, but it boggled my brain a little bit. It’s always a tough balance for me in the first few chapters—I’ve got the sleuth, the victim, and 5-6 suspects (one of whom is the killer) to introduce. I try not to make things too complicated…and including the police after the victim is discovered means more named characters.

But whenever I’ve gotten an editorial suggestion and found a way to incorporate it, my story has improved.

I started looking at the sample. My sleuth’s sidekick was single. What if the police chief were her husband? I’d already established this character as a blabbermouth—if she were married to the policeman than she could provide my sleuth with really useful information that she couldn't get anywhere else.

Taking my agent’s suggestion gave my plot more possibilities.

I know with first readers and writing critique groups, you can sometimes get a mixed bag of suggestions—and sometimes the advice you receive is conflicting.

But I think it’s a good idea to always hear the suggestions out. It could lead to some major improvements in our stories.

Have you ever gotten a revision suggestion that ended up making a big difference to your story?

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