I am facing a difficult revision, not because I don’t know what needs to be done or that I can’t do it. It’s just that I’m not sure I agree with the critiquer wholeheartedly.
A novel revision has all sorts of questions attached:
Who are you revising for? One certain reader/editor? To connect with readers better?
For yourself? To become a perfect model book?
The critique of the manuscript was thorough and opinionated. I liked that. Here are some of their thoughts, which just represent one opinion:
- The theme being too didactic and preachy.
- The structure seems off: a major plot point takes place at the midpoint, but the critiquer suggested it should be at the end of Act 1 instead. That would also take care of pacing problem in the first half of the novel. That would mean I need an totally new Act 2.
- Characterization needs to be beefed up.
- The story line includes a curse; once under the curse the main character has difficulty distinguishing reality from fiction. The critiquer says SHE had trouble keeping things straight, too.
All of this sounds reasonable to me, until I start to write. Then I realize that I put that major plot point midway through the novel for good structural reasons. If I cut a lot and move it to the end of Act 1, well, what will I do for Act 2. It means a totally new story.
I agree that the characterization needs work. No problem there.
I am revising for the reader to make this work better.
If the critiquer had problems keeping things straight, that is a valid reader-concern. Clarity should rule for the reader, even when the main character is totally confused. I agree. I will revise for the reader.
The main question remains: reorganize the Acts/structure of the story and write a totally new Act 2. Who am I revising for?
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