Working on the edits of my first full-length book Honorable Intentions with editor extraordinaire Kathy Cottrell was for me an eye opening and, most times, enjoyable experience.
The hero, Chase, meets the heroine, Samantha, in a coffee shop one morning. Acting on a dare from a spurned co-worker who’s told her she needs to loosen up and learn to flirt, Samantha comes on to the first man she comes across, Chase, like a steamy seductress. Her efforts are rewarded, if that’s the right word, in a heart stopping kiss from the handsome stranger she now can’t seem to forget.
Fast forward to later that day. Come to find out, said stranger is a single father embroiled in a custody battle for his only child. And, a good friend of her new boss who has just assigned Samantha to chaperone the impressionable, teenaged young lady on an upcoming Alaska cruise. Not exactly the no-nonsense matron in proper attire and sensible shoes Chase had hoped for. Not wanting to offend his buddy, Chase has no choice but to find a way to go with them.
Taking these characters through a series of experiences which bring them closer together and circumstances which cause them problems large enough to drive them apart, I completed the requisite Big Black Moment and moved them blissfully on to their Happily Ever After.
At which point, I sent the manuscript in.
Which brings me to the edits mentioned at the beginning of this piece. The initial revision letter came back taking note of a couple of story arcs I’d neglected to complete. One, my heroine’s rocky relationship with an overbearing father, described in detail toward the book’s beginning, was touched on in a later scene but that was it. In the rewrite, their relationship was acceptably resolved. Second, my hero’s daughter, who is the victim of the unwelcome attentions from an older man, is sent off shortly after the incident to watch a movie with someone more her own age. No, Kathy said, show how this young woman is affected by the inappropriate actions of someone else, and how she is assured by the adults in her life that she is not at fault for what happened.
Oh yeah. Given the number of woman’s lib genes I inherited, I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t even think of that. In the rewrite, both issues are presented in a way that would, I hope, make my mother and grandmother proud.
My point is, the book I wrote – the one I wrapped my life around and put my heart into – had some merits, but wasn’t good enough to justify its publication. Yet. And thank goodness the experienced eyes of someone else helped me make it so eventually.
These early changes I was asked to make in the book were Of course, why didn’t I think of that? moments for me and, therefore, easy for me to fix.
Our next round of edits weren’t quite as simple.
[Coming up: She was iffy on the Big Black Moment and absolutely detested the ending.]
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Twitter hashtag is #IWSG