This past weekend, we tackled editing chapters seven to nine of Sword of the Crown. Things were going along nicely, until we got to a section where a character had to go to the smithy, and Carol, who does the first edit, had changed the route the character took. I then explained that the smithy was in the basement of the Keep. Well, it was if the gates of the Underworld opened up! Apparently, she had not gotten that from the previous chapters, and did not feel that is should be in the basement, as the noble family lives in the Keep. I disagreed, and so as we have figured out from past editing conflicts, we went to researching on the web, to see what actual Keeps had.
This lead us to realizing that a map of the Keep and surrounding areas was needed, having us to looking at existing keeps and castles from the Medieval age. Then we started looking at what rooms would be in the keep, what the defenses were, and what the surrounding walls would be. Throughout the beginning of the research I was only half into it. I could not get past that my whole book revolved around the smithy being in the basement. Moving the location changed the whole flow of multiple major plot reveals. We stopped the research, as I needed to look at these areas in the book and determine if I could change them. After sharing them with Carol, she came up with a great idea. The scenes required one character to "walk down the stairs, and listen at the door to the smithy," so she suggested having the Keep on a slight rise as some of our research had indicated was normal. This would require the character to walk down stairs, then the smithy can be beside the Keep, so nothing changes really.
And just like that, the problem was solved! The smithy is now next to the Keep, so that people can sleep; we have a map of the village and Keep, and the story is still the same as I envisioned it!
I have to admit that watching somebody edit your book, with all the red lines and comments everywhere, can be hard to swallow some days, but I truly would not want anybody else to edit my book than Carol. She understands what I am trying to say, and stands her ground when she believes something is not working. Although we do have some heated conversations while editing, we have the common goal of sharing the best story of Merceria with the my readers!
Paul Bennett, Writer of Epic Fantasy Stories.