Good news first: I’ve finished compiling my beta feedback for the new manuscript.
The bad news? It needs a near-complete rewrite. I’m hoping to have the next draft done by the end of 2016. To make up for it in some small measure, I’d like to talk briefly about the biggest thing that’s broken in this manuscript. Hopefully that will keep someone else from making the same mistakes that I have.
The external genre of this story is action, and every action story needs three things:
- A hero
- A villain
- A victim
To reduce an action story its most simplistic, the hero risks all to keep the villain from harming the victim.
I have a hero and a villain in the manuscript, but my only real victim figure is rescued at the end of act I. Without a solid victim, the hero and the villain have no reason to come into conflict, and so the rest of the manuscript feels contrived and flat. I’ve had to rely on coincidences and unrealistic grudges to keep the hero and the villain in conflict with one another. Why should the hero bother fighting the villain when there’s nothing at stake?
There’s no easy fix here except rethinking the victim role entirely.
Thanks a ton to my beta readers for helping me figure out what’s going right (and wrong) with the new book!