In my first post on this topic, I explained the early lessons of my writing journey… I learned to add discipline and consistency to my writing practice and I learned the process of submission and rejection. I also discovered the absolute joy that could be found when I experienced complete trust in my muse.
My next manuscript, my third, brought the pendulum swinging back the other way. It was a struggle almost from the start. Inspiration dropped and confidence sagged, but my newfound discipline insisted that I keep at it.
I had good story line, but I couldn’t define the “hook”. Fabulous romance, but stiff dialogue. The hero was intriguing but the heroine fell flat. I had to face the fact that there was so much more to writing a great story than just a great idea. Plot lines have to flow, there has to be a reason to keep reading, and the characters are who they are and they will behave accordingly… even if that makes them just plain boring.
There was almost a year of fighting through the first draft followed by more months of painful revisions. (I know I am making this sound horrible, but the truth is that the process of creation can be terrible and beautiful at once. That’s part of the draw, I think.) In the end, even though there were elements to the m.s. that gleamed like gold, in order to love the story myself, I needed to do a serious overhaul. I mean, strip it back down to nothing and start over with the bare skeleton. To do this properly, I decided that I had to set it aside. Detach. Create distance so it could become new again.
So, I did.
And immediately got started on manuscript number four. Another pendulum swing and another story of my heart. This one was an idea I had nurtured since my earliest days of imagining what it would be like to write romance novels.
And (since it’s time to get the kiddies ready for bed) I’m gonna have to save the next set of lessons for another post… Part 3.
… who doesn’t love a trilogy, after all?