How Change Can Make a Story Sing
by Carol Kilgore
The manuscript went through a number of incarnations. When I’d finally made it as good as I could on my own, something was still off. I felt it, yet I couldn’t put my finger on the cause.
So away it went to my editor. And she zoomed right in on the problem.
In the original manuscript, USCG CDR Taylor Campbell already knew her uncle had been murdered. My editor suggested I change the premise so that neither Taylor nor the police know of the murder. They believe his death was due to accidental drowning. Another rewrite.
I saw the change in Taylor within minutes of making the first change, and my fingers flew through those 300-plus pages.
When Taylor knew of the murder, she suspected everyone. Instead of looking like a smart investigator, she came off as suspicious and hesitant.
But when she didn’t know, she developed a strong spine. Taylor acted the part of an officer accustomed to command of a hundred-person crew at sea. And although the story itself didn’t change, the entire tone of the book became more purposeful and urgent. It was such fun to see Taylor really step up and become the character I had envisioned from the get go.
One suggestion from my editor gave my protagonist’s attitude a whole new life.
A missing belt—her uncle’s prized possession. The lure of buried treasure. And a sexy former SEAL who makes U.S. Coast Guard Commander Taylor Campbell crazy. What more could any woman want. Right?
Taylor is in Rock Harbor, Texas, on a quest to unearth her uncle’s treasure—a journey far outside the realm of her real life. There’s one glitch. Taylor's certain the buried treasure was all in Uncle Randy's dementia-riddled mind. Now he’s dead.
Former SEAL Jake Solomon is in Rock Harbor under false pretenses to protect Taylor from the fate that befell her uncle and the other members of a tight circle of Coast Guardsmen called the Compass Points who served together on Point boats in Vietnam.
Jake is definitely not supposed to become involved with Taylor. That was his first mistake. Taylor is attracted to Jake as well, but she refuses to wait for him to locate the killer when she knows her plan will force her uncle’s murderer into action.
But the killer's actions are just what Jake is afraid of.
Carol Kilgore has always had stories and characters in her head. She wrote short fiction for a few years and enjoyed a small success as a freelancer before giving it all up for her true love – novels. As a Coast Guard wife, Carol has lived in locations across the U.S. She and her husband now live in a San Antonio suburb and share their home and patio with two active herding dogs whose mission is to keep them free from danger, real or imagined.
You can find Carol and her books at these locations across the web:
blog . website . facebook . twitter . goodreads . amazon . amazon uk
A-Z Geek (D)
by Lynda R. Young
Doom (1993):The first computer I bought had a massive 40meg capacity and the first game I loaded onto it was Doom. The first and funniest first-person shooter I ever experienced.
Dragon's Lair (1983): The original came out as a laserdisc video arcade game. It required lightning fast decisions and reflexes.
The Dark Crystal (1982): Pure magic.
Die Hard (1987): a study in tight storytelling. Yes, I can turn a non-geeky movie into a geeky event.
Dragonlance Chronicles (1984-1985): A Fantasy trilogy written to formula but still enjoyable. I believe it's been reprinted many times.
Doctor Who (1963-): I lined up for hours to get an autograph from Tom Baker. I even offered him a jelly baby.
What was it like buying your first computer? Which of these stories or games, or any other ‘D’ did you indulge in? Looking forward to reading Carol’s book? What kind of changes have you made that caused your story to sing?