I’ve managed to read my marinating manuscript twice since unwrapping it.  As promised, I read without a pen or pencil, and on the first run, I only wrote down comments two times.  Both comments were for new ideas that popped in my head as I read, and I knew I would forget them later.  On the second pass, I made no marks at all, although I was sorely tempted, especially at the end where there were many typos. 

Here’s what I gleaned:

  1. I like the main character.  She’s still the cool, trashy-mouthed girl whose attitude started this whole thing.  Her character arc is solid, and she’s strong enough to carry the story.  She slipped out of character a couple of times, especially at the end, and she was too harsh in one segment.  Easily fixed.
  2. I like the bones of the story.  It has a solid three-part structure and a clean, satisfying ending.  The bones need more meat in places, especially at the beginning of the third act and the second part of the second act.
  3. The plot is too linear.  See #5 below.
  4. I like the secondary characters.  They are interesting and/or likeable.
  5. The secondary characters need more of a character arc.  See #3 above.  Both will take some work.
  6. The setting is lame.  It adds nothing to the story or to the larger cultural context.  I need a new place, one that will amplify the story’s culture.  This will require a few passes to accomplish.
  7. On the whole, the story needs depth and resonance.  See

Written by : thunderchikin

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  1. idaho_laurie February 25, 2007 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    I bow to your bravery. I have one stewing, too, and just don’t have the guts to go through the whole thing and itemize all that is left to do.

    Sounds like you have a solid foundation to work with.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. coebooth February 25, 2007 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    I always refer to my novels as “marinating” too. But my marinating novels are in a shoebox under my bed! Every now and then I take them out, look at them, and say, “Still not done marinating. It needs another six months!”

    I do think it’s brave to read your novel without editing, correcting and commenting. It’s so hard to do! But it is good to do that every so often to see what’s not working, and more important, what is! Good luck with it.

  3. thunderchikin February 25, 2007 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    I think ‘marinate’ sounds better than ‘rot.’ Lord knows I’ve got a few rotters in a drawer, as well.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. thunderchikin February 25, 2007 at 11:40 pm - Reply

    I’m trying to do this revision in two passes. One for the big stuff and a second for language. Then I’ll hand if off to my first readers to see what they think.

    The goal is to have a clean manuscript ready to go out at the end of March.

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