HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I hope you all had a great one, whatever you did and wherever you were. I'm kicking off the new year, the NEW DECADE, with a blog post: Editing Isn't Always Scary... by author Chris Bedell!
Chris Bedell's previous publishing credits include Thought Catalog, Entropy Magazine, Chicago Literati, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, among others. His debut YA Fantasy novel IN THE NAME OF MAGIC was published by NineStar Press in 2018. In addition to his YA Paranormal Romance novel DEATHLY DESIRES, Chris has other forthcoming books. His YA Thriller BETWEEN LOVE AND MURDER (Between the Lines Publishing) and YA Contemporary I'LL SEE YOU AGAIN (Deep Hearts YA). Furthermore, BLKDOG Publishing released his NA Thriller BURNING BRIDGES in July 2019. Chris also graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2016.
I know what you did last spring…
When his friend Veronica accidentally kills Mason, Cody’s unrequited crush, 17-year-old Cody successfully helps to cover it up. That is until the start of their Junior Year, when everyone involved receives a menacing note from someone who knows what they did.
The blackmail about Mason’s death quickly escalates to stalking, arson, and attempted murder. Cody and his friends must discover who found them out before they get killed themselves. And fast.
Noah has an altogether different secret. He’s a grim reaper, escorting people to the afterlife when they die. When his path collides with Cody, a spark soon forms between them. But whether they can make their relationship work is a different question. If Cody and Noah want a real chance at love, they’re going to have to be honest with each other about everything they’ve been hiding from the world.
If you like your PRETTY LITTLE LIARS with a hefty dose of Tara Sim’s TIMEKEEPER, Deathly Desires is the book for you.
For more information or to grab you copy, these links should help!
EDITING ISN'T ALWAYS SCARY...
Today I’m gonna discuss editing. More specifically, the developmental editing I did with my publisher for my YA Paranormal Romance novel DEATHLY DESIRES, which was published by Deep Hearts YA on November 14, 2019.
One aspect of developmental editing I did was cutting and combining characters. In the original version, Cody has two female friends—Tessa and Rachel. Rachel is Cody’s best friend and Tessa is the girlfriend of Cody’s best friend, Brandon. But having both Tessa and Rachel cluttered the novel. Not because having two friends is bad, but because I needed everything to keep building my book’s “I Know What You Did Last Summer” conflict. So, I combined the characters of Tessa and Rachel into a new character—Veronica. Veronica is both Cody’s best friend and Brandon’s girlfriend. Combining Rachel and Tessa into one character allowed me to raise the stakes. Cody’s motivation for helping with the “I Know What You Did Last Summer” issue is even stronger now. Helping his best friend (Veronica) is a natural instinct—most people would want to assist their best friend.
I also cut the character of Darren. In the original version of DEATHLY DESIRES, Darren is Noah’s ex-boyfriend, and Noah and Cody start a fake relationship so Darren will leave Noah alone. But the love triangle did nothing for the book. I already had an interesting premise—the revenge game—and I needed to use said concept more. Any love triangle also needed to occur on its own terms. Cody had an unrequited crush on Mason (who knew Cody liked him as more than a friend and let Cody kiss him several times). Mason is at the center of the “I Know What You Did Last Summer” debacle, and that was a natural plot point to circle back to if I wanted. For example, if Mason really is alive—whether he’s in hiding or responsible for the revenge game—what’s the dynamic gonna look like between Cody and Mason if Mason returns? Was Mason simply manipulating Cody because he enjoyed the attention? Was the truth somewhere in the middle? Or did Mason have genuine feelings for Cody but couldn’t express them because of things going on in his life?
There were also more minor issues that I worked on with the developmental editing. One was making the adult characters like Cody’s father (Frank) and Noah’s best friend (Emily) slightly more layered. Developing side characters doesn’t have to be complicated. Doing so can be as easy as having the side character natural reveal a snippet of themselves to the POV character.
Showing versus telling was another minor thing. And I don’t mean in the, “He clenched his fists, face growing redder by the second” instead of, “He was angry” kind of way. Showing versus telling sometimes means showing a scene instead of it being understood as something that happened off-screen. For DEATHLY DESIRES, that meant showing the incident that caused the “I Know What You Did Last Summer” headache. Doing so allowed me to provide more context for the behavior of Cody and his friends Veronica and Brandon. This way, readers can feel more connected to the story even if readers might not necessarily approve of everything Cody, Veronica, and Brandon do.
Anyway, these are only several examples of the developmental editing for DEATHLY DESIRES. But I hope they help illustrate how editing and revising doesn’t have to be scary. Whether a writer is signed with a small press, medium sized publisher, or a big NYC publisher, polishing is important. It’s also helpful to remember comments in an editorial letter aren’t “laws.” They are sometimes meant to be more suggestions to get the writer thinking.
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