The story would take on more life if you began at Chapter 3 instead of the current starting point.
Have you considered making (insert name of dominant character here) the main character, rather than (insert name of excellent supporting character here)?
Maybe you’ve heard one or more of the questions above from your critique partners. Perhaps your beta readers or editor may have pointed to a flaw or plot hole you missed.
You sit down to think about the suggestions you’ve received and realize that you’ve strayed from your storyline or you have the wrong character taking the leading role in your book.
Sometimes, discontent comes as a niggle. You’re not a hundred percent satisfied with your story, but aren’t sure what the problem might be. The proverbial light bulb goes on—like it did for me, recently—and you know exactly what needs to be done to improve your work-in-progress.
I’ve decided, among other things, to rework the cover of Christine’s Odyssey. The girl is perfect. The backdrop is perfect. They depict well what goes on in the book, but I’ve known for some time that something vital was missing.
After analyzing the cover for a bit, I realized I needed to let potential readers know the book is part of a trilogy. The name of the young adult series (to include other books) I’ll be launching is also important. The book has won an award, but it was a while back (2008), so I figured that wasn’t important.
I’ve changed my mind. Every bit of positive reinforcement helps with getting a book/series launched. I also thought that removing the border and adding a splash of solid colour would make the cover stand out more. I did a draft and sent it to the artist and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the final product will look as good I’ve visualized it.
It’s in our nature to resist change. We’re creatures of habit, comforted by the familiar. In writing, this can be our downfall. We work on a novel for ages and think we’ve done the best job possible. A discerning reader, or the seed of an idea, can turn our vision on its ear, leaving us lost or in a state of panic.
Never cast aside any idea as worthless or being too much work, without carefully examining whether it will make your work shine brighter. With that said, is there anything your critique partners or beta readers have recommended that you haven’t actioned because you fear it will be too much work or might send your story in a previously unplanned direction? (Yes, that was a humdinger of a sentence) Or maybe you know something isn’t working, but haven’t moved to change it for the same reasons?
My best advice? Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board. Opening ourselves to change can be just the thing our work-in-progress needs to take it from so-so to brilliant.