It’s been almost a month since I got my feedback on my second draft manuscript, as well as from a handful of beta readers. The general consensus is that the book is good, though it still needs work.
I think most everyone enjoyed the story. That, primarily being the plot of the book. A few people pointed out some things that didn’t make sense. Some of this was me forgetting one thing when writing about it later. Easy fixes. Others where jumps in logic that made sense to me, knowing where I was going with the book, but not necessarily to the reader. But most of the issues were motivational.
The plot holes will be the easiest to correct. Most of them can be handled with a line or two that addresses and/or explains them away. It’s amazing how easy that is to do. Seriously, watch any movie and you’ll see that some big questions about “why isn’t…” are explained with a simple line of dialogue.
For example, I was watching an old episode of the X-Files. I don’t remember which one, but Mulder was off by himself and got himself in a bind. Why didn’t he just call for backup at the FBI? Oh, because “no one is answering.” Sure, it’s not really a satisfactory answer when you think about it, but the line was to make sure you don’t think about it. It sufficed as an explanation to what otherwise would have been a glaring plot hole.
So, yeah, the plot holes will get taken care of. But the motivation… now that’s a different issue entirely. Some can be handled just as easily as a plot hole, but others require a complete reworking of my characters and their reason for being. In fact, the biggest changes I need to make in my book are character related.
What I’m learning is that the plot is really nothing more than the window dressing for the journey the characters make. While almost everybody who read the second draft agrees that the plot is a good one, but any story that doesn’t highlight the inner journey characters take is ultimately a flat one.
There is no doubt my main character goes through an inner journey, as does at least one other. And even though the story is his, I need to work on the motivational development of the other characters as well.
And that’s the mission I’m on now with my third draft. I’ve only worked on two chapters so far, but there is a huge difference between draft 2 and draft 3. Not so much in the plot, but in highlighting the emotional journey of the other characters.
Wish me luck!