Dealing with Mr. In BetweenWhat if one or two aspects of your writing are merely okay? Your pacing for example isn’t bad; you’re just not getting high praise for it. Or maybe judges like your heroine, but she doesn’t excite you. You created her, shouldn’t you of all people think she’s fabulous? For the short term, with the Golden Heart as your goal, I’d say don’t mess with Mr. In Between. Yup, I said don’t. You’ve already got your revision pencil worn to a nub with accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative. Figuring out why something is so-so is much harder and can take up a lot of time.
Once you turn in your entry, however, I give you full permission to mess with Mr. In Between, because, as I mentioned yesterday, your ultimate goal is selling.
So how do you start with Mr. In Between? First, put away all the returned contest entries you’ve been using to help you analyze the positive and negative aspects of your writing and pick one thing that you would most like to improve. It doesn’t have to be something a judge mentioned. Maybe your dialogue works, but it doesn’t leap off the page, which was a goal of yours when you started your first novel. Deep down, you’ve always wanted to write witty repartee. So make a goal. By the time next year’s GH rolls around, know which writers in your subgenre create the best banter, analyze how these writers do it, listen to the people around you who engage in playful banter, like the couple across the street who invited you over for lasagna. Spend many hours watching television shows that showcase lively banter (Moonlighting and Gilmore Girls come to mind). Apply what you’ve learned to your own writing, and write and rewrite until it sings.
The best way of dealing with Mr. In Between is to remind yourself of the dreams you had for this particular book. That little reminder can re-ignite the spark and move your writing from a perfectly respectable C to that elusive A. With time and dedication, you can do it.