I’m finishing up the final touches on my WIP and I’m left with a few final thoughts from my editor. Let’s talk “engagement.” The last thing an author wants to do is “lurch a reader out of the story” because we’ve done something keenly wrong, like switch up the POV, spelling errors … or… the worst… inconsistencies. We don’t want our readers to suddenly stop and have to figure out what we mean and why something doesn’t make sense. We want to keep them engaged in the tale, continously reading and not “startling them” by including things that don’t have relevance to the story.
My book is about a girl avenging the deaths of her parents who were on a quest to find the mystical land of Xanadu. It’s an international thriller, has deep Buddhist elements to it and I’ve interweaved a fantastical aspect. But, apparently there are levels of fantasy and we must remember that no matter what fantastical elements we add, they must be written within the confines of the story. NOTE from my Editor (which I’ve “edited” myself to not give away any spoilers):
Denise/Editor: “Elyse, I’ve been sitting here for three days trying to figure out why when I start reading your “Fantasy” sections, I’m lurched out of the story. I think I’ve figured it out. You have this whole dark, Tibetan/Indian/Far East thriller going on with lots about Buddha and living in these exotic locales. But when I read about “your fantasy land” I feel like I just walked onto the set of Lord of the Rings. The fantasy is too high.”
You see, I made up names for crazy little animals, I had castles and glittering cities of diamonds, I had Kings and Queens in these segments. Fact is, this is a Far Eastern thriller, so these segments should have the same flavor as the rest of the novel. Maybe the King and Queen are Emperors and Empresses (they are now), maybe the castle is a monastery fashioned like an imperial palace (it is now), maybe the animals no longer have names like Snowflake and Torch (can we say Ishu and Dorje?)… you see what I mean? Instead of a town hall, the village has thatched huts, the city doesn’t glisten like diamonds, but is rimmed in gold. Add an Asian feel and keep the story consistent.
This is what I need an editor for. She beta reads for me as she edits – and the story is much better for it. For anyone interested, Denise is doing a special until Labor Day. Normally she charges $4 a page, but she’s only charging $2 a page, doublespaced, for your manuscript. Here’s her website: http://www.thomas-talks-to-me.com/editing/index.html