Oh dear, Kim had quite an email for me after she finished this one. Scathing stuff. Worthy of that picture above. But first, here’s the chapter summary for context:
Mackaba is going through his day in Hardpan City. He’s pacing the halls of Police Headquarters, telling himself how noble he is to stay and defend the empty buildings.
As he reaches the lobby window he notices that a billboard outside has been vandalized. He flies out in a rage to find Mean standing in the streets. A seven-page battle ensues. It’s totally amazing.
Mackaba is defeated and Dark comes out of police HQ with Parlay’s DNA sample.
Now here’s what Kim told me in the email:
- The fight scene goes on a bit long. Could trim by a couple pages to help keep the action flowing at a fast pace.
- There aren’t really any stakes to the fight. We don’t know why Mean’s fighting Mackaba or what will happen if she loses. We find out later she’s distracting Mackaba so Dark can find the case, but during the fight, there’s a slight lack of suspense.
I’ll be honest: I didn’t want to hear this. I LOVE my fight scenes. I told Kim that she’d have to try harder in order to convince me to change it. So she DID try harder. She called me on the phone and told me how she was counting the pages until the end because the battle was dragging on and on.
Oof. BUT–! Lesson time! That’s the first rule of taking criticism. You gotta put your ego away. Even if it’s a chapter you’re proud of. So I did. And I listened.
Because you know what’s next? After you’ve humbled yourself at the feet of the teacher, you get to follow the second rule of criticism: Bring your ego BACK out to fix the problem! Tell yourself “I can do this! I can find a solution! I am the greatest storyteller in the entire UNIVERSE!! HAHAHAHAHA!”
So that’s what I’ll do. First I’ll add a quick scene at the start, with Mean and Dark walking toward Hardpan City. They’ll discuss the distraction plan and they’ll see the birds flying around the buildings. They can also mention changes to the grounds by the walls which will come in handy during the finale. This will also match up with the scene that Thomas Hugo painted for my cover: it depicts Mean and Dark staring at Hardpan City. I hate it when covers depict events that don’t take place in the story, so now I won’t be a hypocrite.
As for the battle with Mackaba, well, I’ll think of something.