(Note 1: I used Grammerly to grammar check this post because I welcome our robot overlords. FTC Disclaimer – Grammarly offered me a $200 gift card to try out their service and post about it. The website found 1 punctuation error, 12 grammar issues, and gave the post an overall score of 69 (weak, needs revision), but I couldn’t actually see the mistakes they flagged because you need to give your credit card number to see the rest.)
(Note 2: Thank you to everybody who voted for the POISON DANCE cover. You can see the winning design here. And also, POISON DANCE is now on Goodreads. In my review, I confess my secret crush on the main character.)
A few months ago, I wrote about critiquing tips I learned from my editors Abby Ranger and Rotem Moscovich at Disney-Hyperion. Today, I thought I'd talk specifically about actual changes that I made to MIDNIGHT THIEF in the editorial process. When possible, I've tried to abstract my changes to larger principles that might help you with your writing as well.
1. Juicing up the world building. Midnight Thief is an alternate world fantasy novel, and much of my first revision focused on making the world more real and vivid. This included:
- Inserting small details that illustrate how this new world is different from ours. This included setting details such as paintings, to personal interactions, to myths and folklore.
- Language. My editors encouraged me to come up with terms specific to the world. For example, Palace guards are now referred to as Red Shields. I also came up with different speech patterns for the nobility vs. the poor.
- World building as foreshadowing - without going into spoilers, there is a big reveal in MIDNIGHT THIEF. Some initial test readers found the plot twist unbelievable, and I’ve since shaped the worldbuilding to make it more natural.