Thursday, June 02, 2011

Working on a Climax

I've been editing the climax of my WiP (work-in-progress), which is the third book in my Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series, tentatively titled Basketful of Troubles. I handed it out to my critique group and received their feedback at our last meeting.

I was concerned prior to the meeting because the scene included a lot of people, a lot of action, gunshots, a bucking horse, terrible danger, high emotions, people afraid to act or acting inappropriately, and more. And I'd already rewritten the climax a couple of times, to raise the stakes and the accompanying emotion.

I had a right to be concerned.

My critique partners liked the basic elements of my climax scene, but they pointed out many areas that needed to be fixed. These included:

1) A man was sucker punched by someone, but once he got the other party under control, he was content to hold him pinned down and not get a revenge lick in.
2) A woman ran inside a building to call the cops early in the scene, but readers forgot about her by the time the fighting began and kept asking, "Why isn't anyone calling the cops?"
3) Someone was hurt, badly hurt, and I didn't show his pain on screen.
4) I didn't keep the focus of the scene on the bad guy at all times so the reader knew what he was doing.
5) I made the characters' dialogue too long. They would speak more in fragments.
6) I got so wrapped up in describing the action that I called a character the wrong name--more than once.

And 7) There was a logic hole so big you could drive a truck through it. Aaargh! It took me quite a while to come up with a solution for that.

By now, I bet you're wondering how I could possibly be a published author.

I've been busy making fixes the last few days. I'm happy to report that the scene reads better, much better, thanks to the astute eyes of my critique group. What would I do without them?

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