After the writing conference and my failed experiment with an editor, I typed up all my notes. In the process, I remembered a comment from one of the panelists that, somewhat derisively, suggested hiring an editing STUDENT if the author simply couldn’t hire a real editor for $30/hr+. It sounded like a good idea to me. I contacted an editing teacher at a local college and asked if he had any students who might be interested in a job with (lower) pay plus portfolio experience. I got an answer within a couple of weeks, and soon had an editor hired. (If anybody wants to hear about my experience negotiating the contract, let me know. No, it wasn’t scary or awful.)
She took a few weeks to read my book, then sent me some comments, some related to the ending and some not. Her first suggestion for the ending was also unworkable, but she seemed to have some misunderstandings, too. I took several deep breaths and wrote back, explaining what I had intended. Then I waited anxiously to see if I was stuck in another dead end.
Fortunately, her next email was a lot better. She was able to point out where I had gone wrong with what I intended and suggest how I could fix it.
In brief, I’d put stuff off-screen that should have been on, spent too little time on certain important things, and neglected a confrontation with the antagonist that would signal “climax” to the reader.
So I rewrote the ending *cough* times, and sent the most-changed chapter to a few old beta readers. They said it was SO MUCH better, but had a few minor suggestions that led to still more tweaks.
About then, I read a book that said many of the same things I had just learned. I probably still wouldn’t have found my exact solution anytime soon, so I don’t regret hiring my editor. The book did help me with some of the smaller tweaks as I rewrote, including upping the emotional impact. In case you want to read that writing book, I sorted through my list of 100 “read” writing books for you. You’re welcome.
Now I’m sending my book out to beta readers for hopefully the last time, to see if the ending holds up under new eyes…
In the meantime, I’m sending book 2 through my critique group and starting book 3.
My next “writing process” post will probably start covering book 2, unless something shocking comes out of my last beta reads on book 1.
Crossing my fingers…
Update: Apparently I still have a few issues. Deep breath. I can do this. I can, I can, I can.