Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

Weekend at last! November 21, 2009

Filed under: What I'm reading,Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 1:42 pm
Tags: , ,

So it’s back into the editing! I finally got chapter two closer to where I wanted it by Monday night, so this weekend Cinderella gets to go to the ball- it’s on to chapter three.

I did some big structural cuts during the week- cut out great slabs that I liked but didn’t do enough to move the story forward. The word count is right where it should be, but the chapter sure isn’t!

I need to write probably another thousand words to deepen the sensuality and the emotional tension between Luk and Emma, and drip in a little of what happened in the two weeks between chapter two and chapter three, while they were apart. Which means I have to find places I can cut a thousand words elsewhere in the chapter. So that will be hours combing through it, eliminating redundancies and repetitions, tightening up sentence structure, and finding places I can use fewer but stronger words.

Editing is far harder work than letting fly in first draft. But it’s sooooooo satisfying. This is where the story takes it’s real shape, the writing pulls together, it starts to become its deepest truest self.

Trite metaphor, but I just realised how much this editing process is a makeover. My first draft is Cinders, the beauty can’t be seen for the dirt and the rags. Hopefully, by my final version, I will have Ella, transformed into the fullness of all she can be, ready to go to the ball (or be sent off to the editors in Richmond or wherever!)


In one of those odd mind jumps, I also had a flash this morning for a way I can improve on my unedited draft for last year’s instant seduction entry. I saw a whole sequence that is so much stronger and better than what’s currently there. I think once I have Luk and Emma’s story done, I might just go back and play with Bruno and Rebecca some more. Though as a rejected story I’m not sure I can resubmit it to Richmond, even extensively rewritten. Carina Press?


Thinking of HMB and rejections, I was sad during the week over Harlequin’s decision to start a “self-publishing” section, Harlequin Horizons, and target it at writers with rejected submissions. Maybe a good money-making move but bad bad bad from the point of view of developing writers. Rejections hurt worse than a broken leg, but they make us better writers, send us back to our stories to learn how to make them better. Selling people a shortcut to the dream is selling everyone short for a fast buck. All the working-on-it writers I know in the romance community approach writing in a professional way and wouldn’t consider paying to be published (true self-publishing is a different thing, and is the best choice for many writers who are highly professional, but that’s not what was being offered here). Vanity press have their place, if they are marketed transparently and honestly. But something about the way Hh was being done felt icky and wrong.  It had the sense of something that maybe Harlequin was being foreced into by their parent company, and it seriously underestimated the romance community. Thank goodness, they’ve responded to the huge reaction against this in a positive way. Taken down the ad “Become an author- Harlequin Horizons” that went up on every page of the online writing guidelines at eHarl. Hopefully also rethought the idea to market it on rejection letters (what insensitive b thought that was a good idea?). Thank you Harlequin for being so responsive!


Completely unrelated- I discovered a new blog this morning- Kristin Cashore, via her NaNo Pep Talk.  She writes YA fantasy, not romance. I’ve linked to a post about her experience of submitting and getting published. She writes so beautifully and so honestly in her blog, I want to find her books.

Isn’t this so true-

One thing I want to add, though: I’m not saying you have to let your manuscript go NOW, or even SOON. I waited until I felt like I was ready; until I was ready to take the risk. I can’t say what “ready” feels like — I expect it feels different for different people — and it DEFINITELY doesn’t feel like success is assured. “Ready” always contains a little bit of “OMG I AM SO NOT READY.” But it also contains enough “I am ready” for you to be ready.

Oh, good lord. That paragraph was meant to be helpful, I swear. Here, read this poem by Anaïs Nin:

And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to Blossom.

For anyone who has work they know they should send out but haven’t yet- isn’t it time? You know who you are.


2 Responses to “Weekend at last!”

  1. Maisey Says:

    Wow! Lots of revelations!! Very glad the editing is moving in a positive direction. And that you have ideas for your IS sub. I could be waaahaaay wrong, but I still think it’s not technically R’d since it was a comp sub, and you’re talking really changing a lot. Anyway, I liked what I read of it. So it might be worth it.


  2. waitingforthecall Says:

    Yeah, but well buried revelations! Some of my posts elsewhere aren’t so well buried. So, if I’m shooting myself in the foot, I’m shooting myself in the foot and so be it. I do feel strongly about this,once I realised all the facts about how it was being implemented, and I don’t keep quiet if I feel something is wrong. But Ihope the right thing is being done now. I’m not sure on whether these comp entries can be resubbed. There’s been some discussion about this on I Hearts, and straight from the eds was a “No, even if rewritten.” Might need to be Carina instead for Bruno and Rebecca.

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