Apart from ‘The Magpie Diaries’ which will forever remain untouched in the state I left them, Broken was the one novel that I was not anywhere near happy with, although I liked the concept of the haunting and a trip to sunny Skiathos. Feedback from readers following its publication on Lulu led me to believe that I should have listened harder to my draft readers that the start was ‘a bit slow’ and done a rewrite before publication. I guess you can get too close to a project to be able to see the water for the docks, and most of my writing brain had moved on to my next book – ‘Muta’ – a much attractive prospect as it was sci-fi and not the real world.
Hindsight is 20:20 and it is easy for me to say this now that I have just published the 2012 revision of Broken on lulu.com Here’s what was wrong with the original:
1. it was way too full of exposition at the start
2. the character of Flick was mentioned but didn’t feature ‘in the flesh’ – why should we be concerned for Daniel if we don’t know Flick, and they have only split up, it’s not like she’s dead or anything
3. Daniel isn’t particularly likeable and seems to have no redeeming features
So what to do? To address these failings I sought to do the following:
1. remove all unnecessary exposition immediately
2. remove the trip to the strip-club and most unsavoury comments from Daniel
3. kill off Flick. This makes Daniel’s feelings of loss a lot more understandable and also makes sense as to why he would think initially he was being haunted by the ghost of Flick
Also as a by-product, and because I want to use the idea in another book I am planning, I resurrected his mother and then stripped out all references to her death. I also corrected an amazing gaff where a character I had already removed was mentioned late in the book and also removed the annoying cockney workmate from the ‘cast’ – given that Daniel doesn’t go the strippers with him, he is superfluous, as is Ramona the stripper – although she’ll probably be back some time – possibly in the form of a short story. Flick’s ex-boyfriend also gets a name change from ‘Mark’ to ‘Guy’ because I think it helps and I introduce a subplot to add to Daniel’s woe over her death.
I have dropped the pricing for my eBooks to £1.99 ahead of Christmas and they will remain at that price. please note that the revision of Broken on the iBookstore is the old version – the new version is on www.lulu.com/matthewhaynes
For those of you that have already purchased Broken I will let you have a PDF copy of the revised version gratis and apologies for putting you through 100 pages of Daniel examining the lint in his belly button.
For those of you that liked the original version, I thank you and I am pleased to tell you that at some point in the future I will write a sequel featuring the return of Flick in ghostly form.