Sep 062017
 

This is the third and final installment of Anatomy of a First Book, the saga detailing the journey to publication for my first book – Honorable Intentions, a single father romance with a mistaken identity twist.

As previously noted, protagonists Chase and Samantha met under odd circumstances when she tried to seduce him one morning at their local coffee shop. She soon comes to find out the man she thought to be a stranger is best friends with her new boss and she has been assigned to chaperone his teenaged daughter on an upcoming cruise.

Having brought Chase and Samantha together, completed the story arcs my editor requested and rewriting the BBM scene from hers to his point of view, I constructed the requisite believable, wrap it all up ending. Satisfied the suspected femme fatale is, indeed, a more than competent companion for said daughters–since he’s along for the ride—Chase eventually also decides she’s the perfect candidate to be his wife. But I needed one final conflict.

I won’t burden you with the gory details of what I came up with. Suffice it to say I went for an ending manufactured from a simple misunderstanding regarding upcoming wedding plans that could have been resolved with a five—no make that three—minute conversation.

Being a good editor, Kathy called me on it. Even noted I had taken the easy way out, which I realized was painfully true. As I recall that original ending, the only response that comes to mind is – What was I thinking?

After I got over the initial shame at my laziness and performed a mental—well, duh!—slap to my forehead, I sorted through some previous incidents in the book.

Chase’s focus throughout is the welfare of his daughter first, and preserving his relationship with her second. In fact, in one ‘getting to know you better and begin to care about you as I person I could learn to love’ scene between Chase and Samantha, he confides in her about an upcoming custody hearing his daughter’s mother has initiated and vows to move heaven and earth in order to not lose contact with the most important person in his life.

Thank goodness I could still redeem myself which took the form of rewriting darn near the final third of the book ending with a courtroom scene where I brought to life all the struggles, conflicts and antagonists my characters had only talked about before. And, you know what, my editor LOVED it.

All in all, writing and rewriting that first book to publication was awesome and rewarding. An experience I wouldn’t trade for anything! From first draft to rewrites to rewrites and more rewrites, I enjoyed every second. Which is why I love doing it over and over again.

But then, don’t we all?

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

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

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the September 6th posting of the IWSG will be  Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure

Jul 052017
 

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.]

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

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

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the July 5th posting of the IWSG will be Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt,  Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan

Jul 252014
 

Block Party Blog Hop Button

Hi and thanks for stopping by – This is Week #3 of the Feature Friday Block Party Blog Hop, which is being co-hosted by the lovely and talented author MJ Schiller and Buy the Book Tours! Please Twitter #FF us with @MargoHoornstra, @MJSchiller and @BuytheBookTours. I’ll be sharing Key Lime Cake and just a little bit about my book HONORABLE INTENTIONS!

Key Lime Cake Continue reading »

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