The biggest change to this particular story is the title. I've changed it from Billy, to Believe In Me. At its root the story revolves around belief and the love shared by siblings.
First up was the opening. I changed the first and second line to create a more immediate threat and cleaned up the remainder to draw the reader into the story.
He heard it crashing through the dark woods around him, the sound filled with deadly intent as he turned to flee into the gloomy depths. He didn’t know which way to run as the sound of the beast hunting him came from every direction. He was trapped between the emptiness of nowhere and gloomy depths of a featureless void. He could smell its rancid breath as the slender trucks of the trees on his right slowly parted, razor sharp claws glowing in the faint light of a sliver of moon that was playing hide and seek behind the low clouds skirting the treetops above him.
It came crashing through the woods around him, filled with deadly intent as he turned and fled into the gloomy depths. He didn’t know which way to run as the sound of the beast hunting him came from every direction. He was trapped between the emptiness of nowhere and the gloomy depths of a featureless void. Its rancid breath washed over him as the slender trucks of the trees to his right slowly parted, razor sharp claws shimmered darkly in the faint light of a sliver of moon that played hide and seek behind the low clouds skirting across the treetops above him.
In the beginning I imagined his sister as having died. But as the story progressed I realized that wouldn't do. It wouldn't be good having a person who was supposed to be dead coming back to life. Instead of dying as a result of her attempt to take her own life I put her in a coma instead, which with the way the story played out worked out so much better in my opinion.
Most of the editing was focused on cleaning up the verbiage. I've learned over the years that I have a tendency to use the word HAD, a great deal, and just the removal of that single word in many of the sentences helped smooth the narrative flow while strengthening its intent. At times I also use too much to describe something when a single word will suffice. As you can see in the second example below when I replaced "his mother" with "she".
Original: Sara had warned him they would try to do that, and that he had to be real careful about what he revealed.
Updated: Sara warned him they would try to do that, and that he needed to be very careful about what he revealed.
Removed some clunky language to smooth the narrative flow.
Original: His mother spun around, startled by his sudden appearance, and knelt down to wrap him in a desperate embrace.
Updated: She spun around, startled by his sudden appearance, and knelt down to wrap him in a desperate embrace.
As is usually the case editing a piece of work is a never ending job, writers are rarely every entirely happy with what they've done. Insisting on going over a manuscript repeatedly as they search out every little mistake. I'm no different.
The final issue I would like to touch on is the poster in her bedroom and where it came from. If you've ever read The Shawshank Redemption, you might remember the scene where the narrator is talking about the poster on Andy's wall, and how at times he felt a chill coming from it, as if the poster led to another place. Of course we learn later there was nothing at all paranormal about the poster, it was only covering the hole Andy had been digging to escape. But that scene stayed with me and wound up in this story, only this time the poster serves as a portal to a shadowy place few of us would wish to visit.
A part of my challenge is to release each story to a much wider audience at the rate of one story per month. At the beginning of this month I released the first in the series A is for Alone. To read the newly improved Believe in me, follow the link below. But keep in mind the story will only be available in its entirety for free until March 7th. At which point I will truncate the story and provide links to where you can buy the rest if you wish.
Link to Full Story: Believe In Me!
If you've been enjoying what you've read why don't you stop by my one of my Author Pages listed below to check out my other work.
That's 2 complete novels and a
collection of short stories.