It’s a funny thing, asking someone else to read your book manuscript. Sometimes they say things you want to hear, and sometimes they point out problems you can easily fix. And sometimes — awful but useful times — they point out giant issues with your plot or characters or story. Those are the occasions that require most courage, and the most time.
GREAT ADVICE CAN BREW
About four years ago author Julia Lawrinson read through my first ever children’s book manuscript, One Weekend with Killiecrankie, and she gave me some brilliant advice. Some of it I heeded straight away, but other bits — more crucial, time-consuming, plot-wrenching bits — I chose to ignore.
Since then I have reworked One Weekend with Killiecrankie about a million times and never quite got it right. The small changes Julia suggested were easy to make and improved the book hugely, but I kept resisting the big changes. Instead I worked on tweaking small things, faffing around instead of taking a chainsaw to the story and rewriting large chunks.
Recently, I finally got the courage to take a proper look at what Julia told me all those years ago: One Weekend with Killiecrankie is a cool story, but the ending sucks!
BRING OUT THE CHAINSAW!
I have spent the last little while completely rewriting large chunks of the story and recreating an entirely new (and super-fun) ending.
I LOVE IT! I’m so much happier with the entire story and all its characters. The first ending was rubbish because I needed to finish my story in a rush and I couldn’t think of anything better. The second ending has been brewing for ages and all it needed was a bit of courage. Out with the dead wood, in with the good times!
Of course, I’ll need to rewrite that ending about a million times too, but still…We’re on the way!