I am in the throes of massive rewrites on a novel I had–once upon a time–considered near completion. Fortunately, I had the good sense to consult a professional (and paid $$ for the service). Not only did I get my money’s worth in the form of great suggestions, but I also learned some valuable lessons about composition and plotting. Maybe I’m a slow learner, or perhaps I’m just not as insightful as I’d like to be. Either way, despite my many years reading books on writing and clicking away on keyboards, it took my mentor’s gentle remonstrations to correct some banalities in this book–ones I simply couldn’t see until they were pointed out to me.
For example, I seem to like twins. In at least two instances I twinned characters in this novel.
The first iteration was the most blatant. I had inserted actual twins, a brother and sister who, though they served little role in the book, nonetheless managed to split that role for no better reason than…hey, twins!
My second set of twins were less obvious. In fact, my mentor didn’t mention them, but then this person read only the first 100 pages of my novel. I essentially have two antagonists filling much the same role. Now, in my defense, I was attempting to throw in a red herring for the reader, so that you think one guy is the ultimate evil in the book only to find out it’s the other dude. But it ain’t necessary!
Going forward, I’m splitting all my twins so that the remaining character does twice the work and gets twice the page time. It feels better already.