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!

What is this story, really? November 28, 2009

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 2:44 pm
Tags: , ,

I can’t settle to editing today.

I’m feeling 99.9% sure I will get a rejection letter for my Harlequin Presents. That’s got me wondering if I should stop my current edits aimed at shaping it to fit the Presents guidelines, and go with the story that’s been niggling at the edges of my awareness for weeks.

Basically, the same story, same premise. But a lot longer, and with magic.

What if on the island of Melusia, magic was real? Maybe only those of Royal blood have it, but it exists and works. So Emma’s cat can talk to her, and she not only has to get used to being a celebrity and wearing high heels, but learning to control these new powers she has. What if another big reason Luk doesn’t want to be in Melusia is that he doesn’t like magic, doesn’t trust magic, doesn’t like how the magic affects him?

The idea appeals to me so much!

I guess I better keep working on the Presents version, as I’ll kick myself if I’m lucky enough to get a full request and have nothing ready. Now I’ve written down the idea, I can go back to the task I set myself of editing it as a Presents.

But once it’s done, next story might just be the fantasy version.


4 Responses to “What is this story, really?”

  1. Eileen Says:

    Why not keep working on the Presents version until they announce winners? (and maybe a week after that if you want to wait until they’ve made some partial requests). That way you have a deadline to hold you to the edits you’ve worked so hard on thus far. then after that you can build this great new magical version. Which sounds like a totally fun stand alone 🙂

  2. waitingforthecall Says:

    I ended up deciding to do that. I can see the other version being around 90,000 words!

    I can always come back to that, and in the meantime I’m finding the lower Presents wordcounts excellent for strengthening my writing and getting it muscular and lean. No space for any words that don’t work hard enough for their space. I badly overwrite in first draft! And it’s excellent for keeping tight focus on the core of any romance, whether fantasy or whatever- the developing relationship and whatever gets in the way of the develeoping relationship. It’s good discipline (of the WiPs and Chains sort), even if in the end I don’t get the chance to sub it to HMB.

    Realistically, based on last year’s contests, it may be as long as 8 weeks before any full requests are made. The winner and runners up should find out on Monday.

  3. Eileen Says:

    8 weeks? Essentially, February. Wow. That must have been a really pleasant surprise for the people who’d given up then partials requested!

  4. waitingforthecall Says:

    I’m thinking more end of January. That’s based on last year’s comps- they may have streamlined the process this time, but knowing how busy they all are at Richmond it’ll most likely be similar waits. It was eight weeks from the end of FtH when one of my writing group got a full request on her entry, nine or ten weeks after close of IS I got my letter Waiting is such a big part of the publication game, and I’m not naturally a patient person!

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