I have embarked on the final re-write of Mervyn Bright and the Marauders. This is the last polish before approaching agents. I have already re-written the first three chapters:-
The beginning of the story has always been a bit slow and the main characters are introduced individually, but to achieve commercial success (to get noticed by agents and publishers) I need a bigger hook in the first chapter. In fact, I need a bigger hook on the first page so I’ve started the story with a brief run in with the Nabob. I’ve also brought Aurora into the story a few chapters earlier and removed the class scene where the students are allocated to their syndicates (never was happy with it) – that all now happens at the opening ceremony. My only real concern now is that having tried so hard to get away from Harry Potter, the opening ceremony is a bit too reminiscent of the Sorting Hat scene. Perhaps I’ll cut that too and have the syndicates pre-determined.
One reviewer has suggested cutting the Aurora Swot scene as it adds nothing to the story. The main purpose of that scene is for Loren to warm to Aurora and learn to respect her. It also shows off the character traits of the other characters. If I cut that scene (one of my favourites - and I’ve sacrificed so many of my favourites already in the interests of propelling the story forward) I’ll have to work that characterisation into other scenes. On the other hand, anything that does not propel the story forward ought to go – the pile of cuts is now bigger than the novel. Another reviewer really liked this chapter and thought it served to fill out the characters. Should I cut it or not?
This final re-write is about character and characterisation. Loren, in particular needs to undergo a bigger character change – from loner to team player, so I’m going to re-emphasis her preference for working alone at the start of the story.