When an undead woman with serious de-comp issues stalks sixteen-year-old Lyla Grimm, her hope of rescuing her rock-bottom reputation takes a back seat. Especially once Lyla’s new talent of resurrecting the dead draws the attention of Eric, a Grim Reaper with a guitar and a chip on his shoulder.
While Lyla navigates the gossip-ridden halls, Eric works to gain her trust and discover why Death’s clients aren’t staying down. If she passes on her gift, his death-messenger destiny might be altered. But the closer he gets to Lyla, the less sure he is of his plan. The dead are way easier to deal with than the living.
Gossip explodes, the Grimm family implodes, and desperation sets in. Death wants the gift and a soul. Lyla and Eric face hard choices with hidden consequences. Sometimes life’s choices aren’t really choices at all.
The evolution of The Undead: The importance of editing after time has passed
The Undead began as a tale told only from Lyla’s vantage point. Her troubles at school were chronicled in detail, along with the tension at home, and oh yeah, the awakening of her ability to resurrect the dead. Eric was a character, but not a main character because we never understood his motivations.
When my editor read my ms for the first time, she had many questions about Eric and suggested I offer more information about him. He was too mysterious, in an incomplete and frustrating way. His motivations were not understood. What did he want? What did he need? I thought long and hard about how to show more of him. But the trouble with showing more about another character written in first person is the fear of info-dumping or labored conversations to include the pertinent past information.
To develop Eric's character more and make his motivations central to the story, I gave him a voice of his own. And boy did he take off. I could barely keep up with everything he wanted to do and say. His depth of emotion ran deeper than I expected.
Without someone suggesting I offer more and allowing my work to rest, I wouldn’t have thought to push that way.
Having a CP, beta reader, and/or an editor read your work and offer feedback are critical steps for your story. Sometimes a suggestion or question is enough to turn your tale into something deeper and stronger. Especially if you’ve given it enough time.
About the author:
Elsie Elmore lives in North Carolina with her husband and two kids.
She loves the color red, has an appreciation for chocolate and coffee that borders on obsession, writes stories that challenge the laws of nature, and wishes fall temperatures would linger year round.
Elsie is a member of several writing organizations: RWA, SCBWI, and WSW. The Undead : Playing for Keeps is her debut novel.