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  • Writer's pictureSteph Whitaker

Writer In Motion 4: Revisions based on a Professional Editors Feedback

This week is the professional editor round of Writer In Motion. When it comes to this sort of thing, I’m the ‘rip the bandage off quickly’ sort of person. So, as you can imagine, I was anxious to get my story to my editor as soon as possible. I don’t know why, but I always doubt myself when it comes to my writing. I hear it is normal and a lot of writers feel this way. Still, doesn’t make it any easier. LOL

My Professional Editor for this round of WIM was Megan Records

(@meganrecords). While, I’d heard of her, and quite possibly googled her a few times in the past for other contests #Revpit and such, I didn’t really know a lot about her or her editing style. What I did learn about her is, she is a fan of the Em Dash, as am I, and she struggles with anxiety. Another thing a lot of us writers have in common. (myself included)

So, the first thing I did when I saw her email was squeal with excitement. The second... immediately turn my phone off and walk away from it. Yes, some might call that strange, but I wanted to finally sit down and read her comments from a neutral perspective. This also, left it open for me to have my mini-panic attack:

“What if she hated it?”

“What if my writing sucks?”

“What if there are so many suggestions that I totally can’t fix the story by Friday?” (I kick myself in the ass over this one, because I know from CP swaps that a ton of comments doesn’t always mean it’s bad. Sometimes there are a lot of comments because the CP sees a TON of potential and other times the CP is just that in love with your story that they just have to tell you the parts they LOVE.)

So... once I calmed my panic monster (or toddler as I sometimes like to refer to her) LOL... I turned on my computer and opened the email from Megan.

It was simple, brief, and made me smile. It was exactly what I needed to have the confidence to open the word doc and see the other comments she had left for me.

The first draft of Becoming The Storm was actually a cut-down version of a backstory chapter that appears in one of my novels, Bulletproof Beck. And after cutting it down, I’d worried that I’d left out some important details.

Had I conveyed the situation clearly enough, while keeping it entertaining?

Should I have cut some characters from the scene to simplify it? (which would have been pretty darn hard considering each one of them plays an important role in the scene)

Does the magic in the scene work / feel real enough?

Did I do enough show?

Did I connect the beginning to the end and make Ryatt’s pain jump off the page for the reader? (in earlier drafts I’d somewhat left out Vivi and his close relationship – something that is shown in the part of the story I clipped. So, I had to go back in and add that at the beginning after that last round with my CPs)

Another point I worried about was the setting. I state that it is near midnight, but do I actually show/describe enough of the setting to ground the reader? (This is one area that Megan pointed out that needed a bit more work, which I totally agreed with. The setting is pretty darn important.)

And finally: the characters.

The thing is, that the clip from the novel has several chapters before it and these characters are all introduced before it. When I clipped it, I totally forgot that people reading the short version would never have met my characters and I would need to re-introduce them with quick, yet precise descriptions to give the reader a feel for each.

So, I dug a bit deeper and tried to get those descriptions in there. And even though Beck's younger sister, Ryn isn't in this short, she shares the POV with Ryatt in the full length novel, so I felt it was only right to share her picture in the lineup too.


Becoming The Storm

By Stephanie Whitaker

It’s nearly midnight. Vivi gives my hand an excited squeeze, and I smile, buzzing with excitement. The moonlight makes her skin glow as bright as when she uses her Cloudwalker abilities, a sharp contrast with her long, dark hair. We’ll have to be careful in front of Beck.

Rule number one, never use your abilities in front of a norm.

Clouds cast us in shadows as we make our way toward the Washington Street bridge. My bodyguard and friend, Sirus, and Vivi’s sister, Melyn, follow at a reluctant distance. If I hadn’t already met with Beck several times before, Sirus wouldn’t have agreed to our excursion. Because of that, and his crush on Melyn, convincing him was a breeze. In truth, if he knew Beck and I’d originally met in a chat room for bored teens with rich parents, he might have never agreed, especially after my near kidnapping four months ago. I can’t stay locked away in fear. I need space to breathe, Beck gets that.

This late at night, the city is still alive with the hum of distant street noises. As we near the tall trees and flowering bushes growing along either side of the bridge, there is an occasional buzz of crickets and splash of water. The earthy scent of wet algae and crisp night air ups the excited thrill running through me.

“Nervous?” I ask, knowing Vivi’s answer. She’s fearless.

A mischievous smile curls her kissable lips, “Careful, Halston Everson, or I’ll push you off the bridge myself.”

“And here I thought you loved me.” I laugh.

She snuggles closer, petite enough to fit perfectly in the crook of my arm. “And what gave you that illusion?”

“Gag,” Melyn grumbles. “Why can’t you two just get a room for the night like a normal couple?”

Vivi giggles as we share a conspiratorial smile. A room alone is tempting, but it is an adrenaline filled thrill we’re looking for tonight.

As we reach Founder’s Fountain, Sirus gently admonishes Melyn, who looks peeved. She reminds me of my mom, all seriousness with her stiff posture and pinched expression. Even the crushed velvet tracksuit she’s wearing screams, rich girl. She’s right though, if the Media finds out the heirs to the Everson Group and Blaine Industries are bungee jumping off a bridge at midnight, it will cause a scandal for sure. Sirus can only keep my security detail in the dark about my whereabouts for so long before checking in. If he doesn’t, they’ll track us down. I can’t let my friend get in trouble for my choices, but I can’t pass up this opportunity either.

“Is that him?” Vivi points to a shadowed figure standing by the edge of the bridge. Dressed in a black hoodie and matching ripped jeans, Beck nearly blends into the darkness. He stops pacing when he spots us. Briefly, his hooded face expresses something akin to disappointment or possibly frustration. He quickly replaces it with a smile and trots toward us.

“Hey, you brought friends?” He flips his hood back from his head, revealing shoulder-length brown hair tangled with braids and tied into a messy tail.

“Yeah, hope that’s okay.”

“Don’t worry. I’m jumping, too,” Vivi cuts in with a smile meant for the media that stalks her every move.

Beck smiles, as though amused, but doesn’t seem to recognize her. Which he probably wouldn’t, since Vivi has ditched her rich girl clothes for her favored skater girl look tonight.

“You sound like my sister,” Beck says, which makes Viv’s smile brighten.

“Is she coming?”

His smile flattens. “She’s not much of an adrenaline junky.”

“That’s too bad,” I say, and his gaze flips to me as though I’ve said something wrong. “Maybe next time?” I add, and he frowns before glancing to the darkness along the edges of the tree-lined street. It seems strange. In all the times we’ve met before, he has been cool and collected. Then again, we are planning on jumping off a bridge, and it’s not exactly legal.

“Can we talk, Ryatt? Alone?”

“Is everything okay?” Sirus edges closer. With wide shoulders and an intimidating stature, most people back down when he approaches, but seeing as we’ve been friends since we were toddlers, I know he’s actually a big softy.

“Everything’s fine.” I elbow him and break away from Vivi. “Just give us a minute.” I walk away from my friends and toward the bridge with Beck. He stuffs his hands into his hoodie, shoulders hunched.

“Please hear me out.” He turns to face me, “I thought you would come alone.” His gaze darts to the shadows. “I need you to leave with me, Halston.”

“W-What?” I freeze. I’ve only ever gone by Ryatt around him. I’ve never told him my real name.

Beck’s frown darkens. “I need you to come with me willingly or…”

I snort and take a step back. Sirus warned me to be more careful after my last near kidnapping, but I didn’t listen. I turn to run, but Beck lunges. A sudden jolt of electricity surges through me—a taser.

But I’m a Cloudwalker and it’s like jumpstarting a battery.

Heat sears through my veins, and my abilities rush to the surface without my calling them. I swing around to face Beck, glowing with an overload of energy. Shouts ring out, not just from my friends, but from people hiding in the shadows. I stare as Beck’s eyes widen and reflect the storm swirling in my now silver eyes—a side effect of my powers.

Bullets ping against the fountain as my friends scream. My abilities need an outlet, but there is nowhere safe for the overwhelming energy to go but the sky overhead. Before I can release it, a bullet rips through my shoulder. The force throws me forward into Beck. He screams as we crash to the ground, and the current burns through him. I try to pull back, but it doesn’t work. I’m like a cloud filled with too much moisture. The energy spills over in waves. When I scramble backwards, it’s already too late. The bullet that tore through my shoulder struck Beck, and the electricity did the rest. He stares up at the darkening clouds overhead, blank eyes wide.

He’s dead.

The thought slams into me as my abilities continue to surge out of control. Thunder rumbles and lightning flashes. Every breath is pain filled. Fog rises from my skin, coating the street as rain falls with force. I take a deep breath, trying to get a handle on my wayward abilities. Nothing works. Flipping around, I search for my friends.

When I spot them, my heart stops for a second before thundering back into rhythm, like a tidal wave racing for the shore. Melyn is on the ground, wailing and holding Vivi as Sirus leans over them, trying to comfort her. The bullets have stopped flying, and I finally notice the reason. My security detail has arrived and frightened away Beck’s accomplices. But it’s Vivi’s blood-soaked chest my horrified gaze focuses on. I scramble toward her, slipping on the drenched pavement. I pull Vivi from Melyn and cradle her in my arms as rain pours down my face. It blends with tears and matts my dark hair to my face.

“No… No… No…” The word pours out of me on repeat. “Vivi!” I shake her, trying to get her to open her eyes. Melyn’s crying, and I’m choking on the excruciating pain in my chest.

Even after Sirus tries to calm me and an ambulance arrives, I can’t breathe. A normal person would have passed out by now. But I’m not normal and neither is the storm now threatening to collide with the city as Vivi is pronounced dead.

The End...


Thank you for reading the final draft of my WIM (Writer In Motion) story! I hope you enjoyed reading it. While I'm still working on edits for Bulletproof Beck, using Ryatt's painful backstory for WIM has reminded me once more why I wrote the story in the first place and how much I love it and the characters.

Here is the Blurb for Bulletproof Beck, for those of you who are curious.

Ryn had a plan: finish high school, go to college, and marry her HS sweetheart. That is before her brother and four others die in a drive-by shooting. When the media connects her family to the most notorious gang boss in the city, the blame falls squarely on her brother’s shoulders. In less than a year, she loses everything: her brother, her friends, and the boy she loved. To uncover the truth behind the shooting and those responsible, she poses as her deceased brother—Bulletproof Beck, a tough as nails gangster hellbent on revenge.

Ryatt blames himself for the shooting. He hasn’t left his home or given up the search of what really happened the night his girlfriend Vivi died, and his ability to control the weather became unstable. He wants answers, but as heir to the Everson Group—the richest family in the city—his parents would rather he accept a marriage proposal to a girl he doesn’t love, just to repair their public image and keep their powers secret. With his ability to manipulate the weather slipping and storm clouds gathering, he runs away from home.

In a twist of fate, both suddenly find themselves in need of a place to stay. When a mutual friend sets them up in the same apartment, Ryn and Ryatt soon discover they have a common goal. And as they team up to find answers, an unexpected attraction grows. But chasing the truth, Ryn is forced to confront her deepest fears of rejection, and Ryatt must find the courage to subdue the resulting storm before it tears them and the city apart.


So, as you can see, this story has a bit of a Romeo and Juliet feel. And with Ryn posing as her dead brother, it also has a bit of a gender switch to it as well. Which I think is great because girls can be bad-ass too! Ryatt takes on the role of the guilt-ridden, traumatized love interest. Ultimately, this story is about love, acceptance, and embracing who you really are, despite what others might think.


I look forward to sharing my final thoughts on this round of Writer In Motion, next week, until then, if you missed my previous WIM posts, here are the links:


Thank you again for reading,

- Steph W.

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