Thursday, October 27, 2011

Editing, Stage 5

     After four previously reported stages of editing (and several smaller alterations in between that I didn't bother posting about), Jason deemed the manuscript ready to send along to my editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Julia.  After reading it herself, Julia -- I'm very happy to say -- was quite pleased with the book.  While she did not find it confusing in the overall (a problem Jason and I worked hard to fix), she sent along a list of twelve distinct suggestions, most of which were surgical changes of lines or words to clarify specific ideas or actions.  There were two suggestions, however, that had larger repercussions. 
     First, she found a conversation toward the end to be confusing in terms of who knew what and how.  This lead me to state several facts explicitly and shift dialog from one character to another.  Most importantly, though, it required that a certain fact that had been hidden from two characters be revealed to them.  This revelation lead me to write a new passage of dialog which deepened the tension and expanded the relationship between Laura and a new character named Rose.
     Second, Julia suggested that the final two paragraphs of the book be struck, in order to give the ending a more lyrical tone.  As it stood, the book ended on a passage about the state of the world itself.  Julia felt that it would work better to end with a passage about one of the characters and let that serve as an indication of the way things were heading.  She was absolutely right and thus the original ending will be packed away until a director's cut of the book is called for.
     Finally, as I predicted long ago, the title has been changed.  The word "man," it seems, is not ideal for a YA novel title.  So The Unmade Man is now titled What We Become, which is more in keeping with the wording and tone of the title Those That Wake and also comes from a quote that will precede the book.  

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