Thursday, December 20, 2007

COVER TO COVER: As time goes by.


In an earlier COVER TO COVER post, I talked about "Letting your manuscript stew."
At that point, I'd just finished writing my last Harlequin Romance and had forced myself to walk away from it for a week before getting back into the layering and editing process.
It's tough walking away from your story.
At least, it is for me.
The minute I finish I want to go back over it, read it again, see how far my characters have come, refresh my memory of plot points I may have missed or loopholes that need to be closed.
But I don't. I let it stew. Fresh eyes are essential for picking up all sorts of bit and pieces.
So imagine how surprised I was when I recently re-read my next Modern Heat, TOYING WITH THE BILLIONAIRE BOSS. Why surprised?
Well, I finished this one in August and it was one of those lovely books that flew off my fingertips.
I thought it was pretty special at the time.
Then deadlines changed and this one is getting to sit a while longer so I threw myself into writing my next Romance, secure in the knowledge I had a first draft sitting there just waiting for me.
Well, 4 months definitely brings perspective, more than I could've ever thought possible.
Don't get me wrong, I still love the story and think it's pretty spot on but on the first read through, quite a few things leapt out at me.
I needed to layer much more.
I needed to alpha up the hero in a few places to be consistent with his behaviour in the rest of the book.
I needed to qualify the heroine's crazy scheme which is the crux of the book.
It all seems so crystal clear with the benefit of time, even the perfect words falling into place to replace my green highlighted ones.
It's rare to get this much time if you're published, as deadlines loom consistently for all of us. But here's a tip if you're on the road to publication.
Make a pitstop. The longer the better.
Leave your manuscript for as long as you can. (Work on your next while you wait!)
Trust me, you'll see it in a new light with time on your side.

4 comments:

Rachael Blair said...

Hey Nic

The caramel tarts from yesterday sound delish! Might have to have a try.

Just wanted to say... good luck with your editing (I'm doing the same at the moment) and also ask a question.

How do you go about Alpha-ing up the hero!! This is something I struggle a lot with.

Anyway have a great Christmas... can't wait to read more of yours in the New Year!

Ray-Anne said...

Thank you for this very timely post. I feel that I am too close to my current WIP - it needs to stew for a week or two so I come back to it with fresh eyes before submitting.
So, it goes into the box today while I catch up with the festive tasks here in cold, frosty UK and dive into my TBR pile.
Thank again. Ray-Anne

Debs said...

I found your blog thanks to Ray-Anne and shall certainly take note of your advice to step back and let it stew.

Nicola Marsh said...

Rach,
I'll answer your question tomorrow in a post of its own!

Ray-Anne and Debs, so glad you found the advice helpful :)