On Monday I reached 13,000 words. I sent it to my dissertation supervisor and this morning he replied. As expected, he doesn’t like it. Not enough sub-plot and the main character is two-dimensional and isn’t central enough. There’s too much talking and not enough pace.
I’ve got a long list of proofing errors to go through and I’m going to have to do a massive re-write.
I have actually started the sub-plots – mainly about Lucie’s family and her relationships – but he’s ignored those. She’s separated from her husband and has met a person. But it’s just the very beginning of an acquaintance, not a romance.
And I need more murders. There’s already been two, and a cat and dog death. I don’t think he realised the earlier death of another resident, assumed to be natural, was a murder. Should I do something to make that more obvious? I could have my main witness say something like “They drop like flies around here.”?
One of the conventions of crime writing is that the death has to occur right at the start. Which is what I’ve done. Am I supposed to kill off more people? He’s assuming a serial killer, but this is the killer’s last murder, the one that get’s them caught. There won’t be any more deaths because of the investigation. Maybe I should add some flash backs to the 1960/70/80s murders the killer committed or the Cyprus murder?
I can certainly make Lucie more central, but I also need to make it realistic. A sergeant wouldn’t lead a major investigation and I won’t change that.
Well, time to ruminate about the changes and then back to work.
Update: I’ve had a chat with a writing friend and I’ve made a few changes. Some of the things about the characters weren’t particularly relevant to the story, so I’ve made changes. The changes were so easy to make that they were probably not essential characteristics.