What changed and why

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 June, 2010, 12:00am

Apologies to Christy for changing the tone of her story so much. I've made her robot character, James, much meaner than he was in her original version.

I did this because I wanted to make Becky's decision seem as difficult as possible. Since James caused her such hurt and embarrassment, she has every reason to tell Mrs Rogers he is a robot. On the other hand, she must be tempted by his offer to help her get into a good university. The hope is readers will want to find out what she does decide to do, and what then happens.

Authors also improve their chances of grabbing their reader's attention if:

they end an instalment of a story just at the moment it seems their character's fate will be decided; and

they make the danger to their character as serious as possible.

So, my version ends just as Mrs Rogers is about to enter the room, and James is in danger of being sent back to the laboratory and broken up for spare parts.

There are many directions this story could go in. Maybe Becky does quickly help hide him under a desk, explaining to Mrs Rogers that she was just terrified by a spider. And James could then go on to help her get her university place, while learning from Becky how to be a decent human being.

The possibilities are endless. But right up until the final part of the story, the author would be aiming to come up with a fresh cliffhanger for the ending of each instalment.