Action Figures: Progress Report #5

Last night, Action Figures went back out again to the agent who conditionally rejected it earlier this month. Now I get to go back to trying (and failing) not to think about it and trying (and failing) not to obsessively check my e-mail for a response.

The past two weeks-ish has been an interesting experience, because it really is the first time as a writer I have been asked to make a significant overhaul to a project. I’ve written a dozens of renaissance faire scripts and there have always been requests for tweaks and adjustments, but I’ve never before had anyone hand back a product I regarded as totally, completely, one hundred percent finished and say, in essence, “Scrap what you have and re-do it.”

To put this in full context: my original manuscript was seventeen chapters and an epilogue, 229 pages, 44,000 words. The agent said she did not like the climax and gave me detailed reasons why. Upon reviewing my manuscript with her remarks in mind, I realized she was absolutely right.

However, fixing it was not simply a matter of cutting a line here or adding a line there. I had to start making changes in the second half of chapter fifteen, add a ton of material to chapter sixteen, and completely delete chapter seventeen. My new chapter seventeen, which spawned a chapter eighteen, bears absolutely no resemblance to the original material. The new manuscript is eighteen chapters plus the epilogue (which remains mostly intact), 248 pages, 48,400 words.

I can’t go into detail about the changes themselves because, frankly, and perhaps foolishly, I don’t want to spoil the story should it get picked up and actually published. Once it’s gone out to the masses I’ll be happy to post my original ending and dissect everywhere I went wrong, but for now, it remains a mystery.


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