Scratch Pad: Editing “My Little Merman”

Posted: October 21, 2014 by writingsprint in Writing
Tags: , ,

Tonight I’m working on the edit for “My Little Merman,” the short story about a marine biologist who spends a night hanging out with her merman lover’s family. I forgot how much I enjoy editing. I also forgot how painful it can be to read a story that “needs work.” The good news is that the story isn’t awful. Not by a long shot. I’ve written far worse. It’s a story written by someone who cared about his characters, who was finding his way as he wrote it. It shows.

I cared about the characters in this one, and that comes through. Erica, the main character, is having a blast with her mermaid tail and wants to find out more about everything she sees. Her energy is infectious. Her lover, Aaron, is sincere and likable, the straight man in the comedy act, and her and our tour guide.

The plot needs work. So does the setting, and we need to know Erica better. It’s a fundamental rule of writing that the characters drive the story, so the more Erica gets in the driver’s seat, the more the plot will unfold. Recently I read that characters with flaws are more appealing than those without, because we care about them as they overcome them. I wonder if I should make Erica too analytical about being a biologist. Maybe she sees Aaron and his family as fascinating creatures, but not people. I’m not too thrilled about it but it’s a start. I may write a scene with it to get the creativity flowing.

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Comments
  1. You know what? Editing is NOT my favorite, but I like writing queries and synopsis even less lol. I say that because I applaud you in doing the hard work there, and doing it with a smile.

    I do agree with the statement that readers (and I am paraphrasing) are drawn more to people with flaws. We can relate to characters with flaws. We see ourselves in them, and we are also encouraged to dream that we can overcome great odds just like they do.

    As far as figuring out Erica’s flaw, I would even consider giving her a “thing” that may not necessarily have anything to do with biology. Maybe she has a habit of counting the steps when she goes up and down them, but finds that she is tickled with the fact that she can’t count her movements with a tail. I don’t know, just throwing in my thoughts. Happy creating either way. 🙂

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    • Hi Candice! Thank you for the encouragement, and the advice. I’m enjoying this and I’m also intimidated. I’m not a marine biologist! I also don’t like giving characters flaws. Their conflicts have been external, not internal. I like your idea of giving her a “thing,” though. That’s a great way to get used to the idea.

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      • The way you worded that, with their conflicts being external, and the flow of the story really not being “heavy” if you get what I mean, I think, from a readers point of view, that a “thing” might round Erica off a bit more while at the same time not changing the overall feel of the story. And as far as intimidation goes, I am working on 3 manuscripts right now (editing two of them) and one of them I had no realized how many red marks I had made and I literally have to pray before tackling the changes I need to make with it lol.

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      • I’ve been thinking about your advice ever since I read your post. (Thank you so much!) There’s a scene where she keeps asking questions about what she’s seeing. I think it’s endearing, and it’s a thing! But if she’s seeing them as “fascinating subjects,” rather than people, that’s a problem.

        Your manuscripts inspire me 🙂 . Are you doing Nanowrimo?

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      • 😀 Thank you for the great compliment about my manuscripts! It really means a lot!

        I think it’s great that you are on the trail of a “thing.” You already know that the more time you spend in Erica’s head the more clear and solid her actually ‘thing’ will become.

        On nanowrimo, I am tempted to do it, but I feel like I need to bring AG to its end before I venture into the start of another manuscript. The 2 other stories I am editing are actually works from previous years of nanowrimo. But who knows. Some miracle could happen this week, and I may actually be able to do so. That would be kind of cool and completely welcome.

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      • Actually I was wondering if you would use Nano to finish AG. Just a thought. Good luck on whatever you do :D.

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      • That actually is a very good idea! lol I just might do that. Thank you!

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