As an avid reader, I always wondered where writers came up with their ideas. I’ve been asked that question several times myself recently, and thought I’d share the details of the long, drawn-out, often painful journey of writing Savin’ Me.
As a new writer, there was one piece of advice I’d heard over and over: Write what you know. This sounded like a good idea since I knew nothing about the actual writing process.
People always seemed interested in how I met my husband, and it had a happy ending, so I decided to write about that. I mean, it was something I knew. Right? (I can hear you all laughing now)
I’d just finished the first draft when I heard about the TARA (Tampa Area Romance Authors) contest. (http://www.tararwa.com/contest.php) It seemed like a great way to get feedback, something I desperately needed. I got the first chapter spit-shined and sent off and began the uncomfortable step of waiting. I don’t remember how long it was from the time I sent the entry in to the time I heard back, but it seemed like years (it wasn’t, of course, it just felt that way).
While waiting, I took several writing classes and was beginning to realize how awful the chapter was that I’d sent off to TARA! I dreaded getting the judges’ comment’s back, because I knew they were going to be bad. And, as luck would have it, they couldn’t have come at a worse time.
It was the third week of July. It was the week after my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, my oldest son was diagnosed with kidney problems, and my youngest son was told he needed to have 5 teeth pulled. Yes, that all happened in a week’s time!
To say I was overwrought and overwhelmed would be an understatement. When I saw the TARA envelope in my mailbox, a sick knot of dread wrapped around my stomach. I couldn’t stand to open it and hear how awful it was. I needed good news, not to beaten down some more. I carried the envelope into the house and went straight to the trashcan with it.
My curiosity, however, got the best of me and several hours later I retrieved it from the trash. I waited to open it, though, until several days later when I was feeling a little stronger and thought I could take it.
All of the judges said the same thing. They liked my voice, they liked my characterization but….there wasn’t any conflict. Well, of course there wasn’t. LOL My relationship with my husband isn’t perfect but…well…there wasn’t a lot of conflict.
Encouraged by the judges’ comments, I sat back down and started again. I kept the characters, and wrote in what I thought was a bunch of conflict. However, my critique partner said there still wasn’t enough.
I rewrote the story again…in its entirety…for the second time. By this time, I was working with two new CPs and they really liked it but had a few comments and additions that resulted in…severe edits that could probably be considered rewrites.
Okay, let me say, at this point…I should have taken what I’d learned, applied it to a new story and stuffed this one in a very deep hole. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I loved Erik. And by this time, he was so wounded, I needed to make sure he had his happy ending.
I’m not sorry that I rewrote it so many times and spent four and a half years of my life with Kat and Erik. But I don’t think I’d do it again. First, I hope I’ve learned enough in these past four years that it wouldn’t take me that many tries to get it right. And secondly, I’m smarter about my career now. Hopefully, I know when it’s time to release a work-in-process, and move on to something new.
If you’d like to win a copy of either Savin’ Me, or my previous release, Reaction Time, leave a comment. I’ll be checking in periodically to answer questions or comments. Thanks Janet, and the rest of the Prairie Chicks, for having me here today. I appreciate the opportunity to share my adventure.
Please leave your e-mail address in your comments (using at, dot, spaces to fool those nasty trolls) and check back on Sunday for the name of the winner.
Be sure to check out Alannah's website http://www.alannahlynne.com/ and her blog http://www.alannahlynne.blogspot.com/.