It’s been a little while since I posted about revision, and I’m happy to be back on topic this week with guest author Charles Suddeth. His new YA novel Experiment 38 was just released from 4RV Publishing, and it looks like a very exciting read! It sounds like writing it wasn’t too exciting, though. Here’s his story of all the twists and turns his manuscript to go through to become a fantastic thriller!
My YA thriller, Experiment 38, was released February 15, 2015 by 4RV Publishing, but only after years of revision. This was my first attempt at a thriller. I titled my first draft, Emily Always. After attending several writing workshops, I learned that I had written a YA thriller, because Emily, my main character, was eighteen.
I did my homework: YA was for teenagers, usually involving an adolescent’s search for independence from their parents. Thrillers needed hooks at the end of each chapter and plot twists. And Emily Always was a dull thriller title. I rewrote it as YA, calling it Experiment 47.
Then I joined the SCBWI and learned more: SHOWING was good and TELLING was bad. Avoid passives (was, etc.). And Experiment 47 was a bad title for a book about chromosomes, because 47 is the number of chromosomes for Down syndrome and many other chromosomal syndromes. I rewrote it, naming it Experiment 38. (38 is a specific number, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why)
An acquisition editor suggested that I rewrite the first five chapters. Over a six-week period I rewrote them several times. Then she gave me a contract! I was all set. So I thought. The working editor told me to eliminate backstory and start the novel where the story really begins. I cut the first five chapters that I had sweated over for so long and revised the remaining chapters as requested by the editor. Again, I thought I was done.
A second editor made minor but time consuming suggestions. Then a third editor made more suggestions taking more time. I was almost afraid to ask, but finally I finished.
Yes, I hated the revisions. No, I don’t regret them. I have a book that I love to send to reviewers and submit to contests.
Experiment 38: Eighteen-year-old Emily, small for her age, lives alone with her scientist-father and learns too late that he holds a terrible secret, one that might destroy her life.
As she and her boyfriend, Nate, try to unravel the mystery behind her father’s secret, they face danger and uncertainty.
Want to get a copy of this awesome-looking book?
Barnes and Noble
Books a Million
Charles Suddeth website
D. G. Driver
Author of Young Adult books Cry of the Sea and Passing Notes.