Hi. I believe this filter includes those who read and critiqued my manuscript in 2008, back when it was still titled THE FAKE MCCOY. There is absolutely no obligation for any of you to read this post or try to help me, but I figured that since I'm typing up my thoughts anyway, I might as well share them with people who might have an idea of what I'm talking about. And if any of you do have time to offer ideas, all the better for me, right? :-)
My agent forwarded me the revision notes from my editor, but there are more to come. Basically, she did this two-page letter, but she also marked up a hard copy of the manuscript for me. That hard copy should arrive in the next couple of days. With a scheduled long weekend out of town and other obligations, I think I'll get a chance to sit down and dive into this on Wednesday or Thursday of next week at the soonest.
In the meantime, I'm trying to get my head in the right place and start thinking thoughts for how to accomplish the things my editor is hoping I can accomplish. It is my hope and expectation that most of it will be pretty straight forward. But there is one change that I'm concerned about. I have been done with this story for so long, and a lot of this has felt permanent to me. I don't even know where to begin in ripping it apart.
Liesa said this in her notes:
I really only have one structural note—overall the story flows so well and each scene builds upon the last. But I do feel like we need more of a concrete climax to drive the resolution than this conversation with mom that’s here now. After everything you’ve set up, which is all so great, readers will likely look for a larger payoff. Something more dramatic, more of a wake up call . . . there’s the scene earlier finding Daniel, which is awesome where it is and shouldn’t be duplicated, so it’s not so clearcut as just adding another echo here of Isaac’s death.
At the same time, though, it does feel like what he really needs is something to help him make a certain degree of peace with what happened to his friend and internalize how that can help him stay on track going forward—without going the After School Special route. I know that’s what you were going for here with his mom expressing her guilty feelings and Seth seeing how off-base that is and translating it to himself, but it just didn’t feel like enough to me. Can we think a little on what the right scene would be here? Again, it’s not something I want to just dictate from my own ideas, but I’m happy to brainstorm with you together. I can’t help feeling that it would be nice for it to involve Rosetta, and to see her onscreen again rather than just hear from Kendall that Rosetta has forgiven him and then see her at the show. It is cool to see her in the audience and how that helps him play, but do we need something more before that? Does it need to even involve her and her fear of being in cars?
I’m not sure exactly what would be right here, honestly, I just know there’s a little of an anticlimax as it stands. So let’s both think on it a little, and then get on the phone to discuss. Sound good?
As it's written now, the events of the last forty pages happen like this:
Seth has a cool girlfriend. He's convinced his band to cancel the gig he's been so stressed about. Basically, things are going super well in Seth's life. Better than they ever have.
But then...Seth arrives at school where Xander and Taku that the gig he thought they'd canceled is back on. The stress returns.
Rosetta shows up. She is pissed. Accuses Seth of saying and doing things that he never did. Things that Carr had told her he'd learned from Kendall. Seth tries to defend himself and explain that Rosetta has it all wrong, but everything he says makes him sound worse. And then, because he doesn't want to lie to her, he admits to her what happened with Kendall That One Night, and lets her know it meant nothing to him. The explanation backfires and makes him sound like an even bigger jerk. Rosetta walks away, crying. Defeated, Seth lets her go.
Seth confronts Kendall about the things Rosetta told him. How did Carr know those things? Why did he tell Rosetta that Seth had told everything to Kendall?
Kendall doesn't explain, but runs off to confront Carr. Seth follows. Carr tries to humiliate Kendall in front of everyone. Seth realizes what's been going on with Kendall and Carr all this time. Defends Kendall. As they start to walk away, Carr shoves Seth. Seth then lunges at Carr. He ends up getting his ass beat down by Carr.
Later, Seth is alone by the river, drunk. He's been suspended for the fight with Carr. He's depressed about how everything unraveled so quickly between him and Rosetta. Kendall shows up. She apologizes for Seth getting dragged into her mess with Carr. He doesn't blame her at all... until she confesses that everything that went wrong with Seth and Rosetta was because of her. And then she tells him that she let him think something happened That One Night, but actually, nothing happened. Seth is angry. If he'd known the truth, maybe he'd still have Rosetta. Kendall has really screwed things up for him this time.
Seth stumbles home, completely wasted. He tries to just make his way to his room, but his mom is there. She starts getting on his case about skipping work, getting suspended, and being drunk. Seth doesn't want to put up with this. He goes back outside, falls down the steps, crawls underneath the rosebush where Isaac died, and pukes.
He lays there in the yard, realizing he is a complete loser. After a while, Seth's mom comes out and helps him get back in the house. They talk about things, mostly Isaac, and at the end of their talk, they both feel better about themselves. Seth is ready to move forward and get his life on track. [This, of course, is the part Liesa feels is an anticlimax.]
Later, Seth is stressing about his upcoming band gig and getting no sleep. Rosetta won't return his calls. Daniel calls asking Seth to meet him at a party. Seth goes, hoping Rosetta will be there. She isn't. Naturally. Daniel and Seth find Carr passed out on the floor. Before they walk away, Seth uses his foot to turn Carr onto his side, which is what might have saved Isaac's life if he'd known to do it back then.
Kendall comes to see Seth before his gig, saying she went to Rosetta's and told her the truth about everything. Rosetta feels bad for not having believed him before. Seth is grateful to Kendall; for the first time ever, she came through for him. Now, he just has to get through this set and then he can go to see Rosetta and make things right. He's onstage, he's freaking out, he can't do it. But then he sees Rosetta. She's here at the show. She came for him. He calms down. And then he starts to play.
So, yeah. That's the stuff. To me, it sounds like Liesa isn't anticipating huge changes to that last forty pages. Just something bigger and better than what I have now where he talks with his mom and resolves to get his shit together. I...just... I don't know what a new scene would look like. Who should be involved. How in the world Rosetta can fit into it.