Thursday, April 24, 2014

"It wasn’t a body I’d dumped. Not really." -- The Impact of a Good Editor

The Art of Resurrection

By Elle Cosimano

From The Thrill Begins - the Forum of the International Thriller Writers.

It wasn’t a body I’d dumped. Not really. 
More like a slippery mass of heart and guts that I delivered in the form of an 85,000-word manuscript with a query letter.
“You write passionately, with a lot of heart,” my soon-to-be agent said right before she signed me as her client. “You’ve got the makings of a great hook and a hot romance here. But the plot is weak, and the mystery isn’t really a mystery at all.”
She was right.
So with rigid determination, I set out to give it structure. I tinkered with the story until the skeleton of a strong plot took shape, then preserved and tucked the fragile heart of my book safely under its ribs.
“Now you’ve got the heart, and you’ve got the plot, but you’re writing a thriller. And it isn’t scary enough,” she said. Then she added in a stern, mothering tone. “Elle, someone has to die.”
And again (and as always) she was right.
So I toughened up. Pushed my way past all the inner and outer voices that held the reins on my story. I let go of my fears of what people would think… would it be too dark? Would it be too scary? I let go and I ran toward the darkness instead of skirting the edge of it like a coward. 
And when I returned from that journey, the thin, fragile body I’d left lying on my agent’s desk had muscle! It had legs to stand on! It had filled out into some living, breathing thing. It was terrifying, and I loved it!
All it needed was a bit of fleshing out. A little character arc-rounding here. A little backstory-filling there. A little shaping and definition, and… viola! 
I’d finally dumped a body -- a real mystery – into my agent’s trusting hands.

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