My editor, Keith Olexa, focused on a couple of things when providing feedback on my book.
1. Overall writing style. He helped me pare down sentences, eliminate unnecessary paragraphs, and improve the overall readability of the book.
2. Logic. He read about how I described my characters, then made sure their behavior matched that description.
In terms of the second, it was undeniably true that my book had a lot of illogical action. My characters rarely do the smartest thing. I tend to come up with concepts in my head that seem cool and interesting at the time, then write them in whether or not they’re really the best thing for my characters to be doing.
A great example from Wings of the Sathakos is when my characters are fleeing a city after a dragon attack and they board a ship. The thinking was that they needed to cross the sea to Chassa because that’s where the final battle needed to take place. But ultimately, they found themselves on a wooden ship with nowhere to go when the dragons came hunting for them, and I had to pull a miracle out of a hat to get them to survive.
That scene in particular did not get removed after the edits. I just worked harder to sell the idea, that the ship was the only option available to my characters, even if it was folly.
Since I’ve started working on my sequel, I like to think that I can hear my editor’s voice in my head. I can read the story as if through his eyes and thus find illogical action earlier.
For example, I have a character in the sequel who is a young, hot-headed thief. Supposedly, he’s an exceptional sneak – he’s regularly hired by much more experienced thieves to help them out when they need someone who can be truly invisible.
Yet his first opportunity to sneak into a place, I had him fail. Utterly. Little thinking went into this decision. I just wrote the scene from the hip. His character is the closest thing to comedic relief the sequel has, so it was fun to make him bumble through this sneak attempt and end up embarrassing himself.
That’s not him, though. It can’t be. Huge aspects of the story don’t make any sense at all if he fails.
So it’s on my list of things to fix. Hopefully, I can send my editor a version of the sequel when it’s all done (before the end of summer, if all goes to plan), that won’t have the glaring errors he found in my last novel.