This is going to take a little longer than I thought. Editing The Coppersmith, that is. My big frustration – going as far back as 2006 when I first finished the book, is that my characters just don’t come off strong enough. The main problem is with the main character – Janelle Becker. She’s just not compelling, I’m afraid.

I’ve started giving her a problem – hinting at something dark within her past that gives her panic attacks now, but the problem is that I haven’t fully told her story within the novel – and in order to do so, I’m going to have to radically rewrite these parts of the narrative.

Anyway, based on a dream I had just before waking up this morning (Hey, it’s when I do my best thinking!), I’ve decided to remove her from being an FBI agent, and just have her be an FBI consultant. This will give me the option of removing her from the investigative “heavy lifting,” and allow me to explore the more darker aspects of her personality – which all center around fear of abandonment, etc., something that will hamstring her from really being able to solve this investigation. It will still pivot on being able to identify the killer through the Bible, which is a wonderful device in the story, but her fears need to get worse as she gets closer to catching the killer.

So I’m going to continue with the basic edits I’ve been doing right along, and then I’m going to have to go back through the story, identify all the parts where Janelle is actively interacting or reacting, and rewrite those to reflect her darker character.

This isn’t going to be easy.

  1. MJ Scott says:

    Oh, it’s strange to comment on my own post, but I have an update to it. I’ve been working on The Coppersmith all morning and afternoon, and I finally figured out what’s wrong with Janelle, and how to fix this without radically altering the story.

    I’ve determined she has a drug problem – prescription drugs, specifically, and after breaking up with her partner, has returned to using pills. All of this is designed to cover something dark in her past, something that happened after her parents’ divorce (though I’ve yet to determine if we ever find out what that is. I may keep it hidden until the sequel.).

    This keeps her attitude intact, but provides a sufficient “haunting” to make her more interesting, to say the least.

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