Editing hell begins

So, I’m back from New England. I’d like to say I’m relaxed and ready to embark on the gruesome journey that is about to come my way, but honestly, I’m not. I’ve got a million and one things going on and some are book-related and some are not.

The book ones look like this:

  • Betrayer edits
  • New website design
  • Betrayer edits
  • Shining Ones logo
  • More Betrayer edits

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00046]On top of that, I’ve come down with the lurgy and so I’m grumpy as all get out. Having to use your brain when you’re blowing your nose every thirty seconds is challenging to say the least. Right now, I’d give anything to curl up on the sofa with my kindle app and a cup of tea, and read for the next few days. But I can’t. I’m already behind on edits so like the good author soldier I am, I’m marching on.

BUT.

I need a ranty moment.

REMOVING CHARACTERS SUCK.

I’ve been bogged down doing a hack and slash to the front end of Betrayer so I decided to take a break from that Herculean effort to do something I thought would be simple – take out a new character who didn’t show up in many scenes.

I guess I can say it now because he’s toast. Chad Rosen. He was supposed to be the cook for Joe’s new restaurant and a love interest for Haylee Jane. 5’11”, tan, athletic build with curly blond hair and a pair of mocha eyes that reflected his All-American boy personality. A kiteboarder by day. A chef by night. He was a good guy. And good for Haylee.

Now he’s gone. And he’s the second time I’ve tried to give Haylee a love interest. Matt S. got cut from Protector. He was the new waiter at Paddy’s before Katie entered the storyline as a bigger character. That’s strike two.

Will I ever learn? Probably not. I want Haylee Jane to be happy. I love that girl so much that I want her to have her moment. But she’s not the main character and there’s only so many subplots you can juggle at once.

Anyhow, I’m ripping Chad out left, right, and center. It’s surprisingly easy and I can see why my developmental editor told me to drop the unnecessary characters. He isn’t embedded into the main story arc so should be simple, right?

Um, no. There is a scene between Haylee and Poesy where his presence in Joe’s restaurant triggers a piece of dialogue that is crucial to the progression of their friendship. Without his presence, the scene makes no sense. Taking him out means that that dialogue has to happen naturally in another way. And that my friends, is difficult. Because for me, I outline the essential plot pivots way in advance. That’s partly to make sure pacing is better, but also, so they don’t get forgotten.

The thing they don’t teach you in writing class is it’s hard to slot that crap in after the fact. It never quite looks right like a chipped tea cup. Sure, you can superglue the chip back, but the edges don’t exactly meet up. It’s always a little rough, a little less refined. Crucial plot points work best when the work organically grows to incorporate it.

So that’s where I’m at. Trying to figure out how to extricate Chad without having to re-write giant hunks of this book to make up for his absence. Ironic, right? It’s not pleasant, and I don’t want to let you guys down. I want to get this book out this year.

I changed my mind, I’d rather have wine right now then tea. See? That’s the stress talking.

Anyhow being here isn’t helping my time issue, but at least I feel a bit better now. Back to the grind.

xo shawnee

 

 

Betrayer – 1st draft down

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00046]

Today was the day. I finished the first draft of Betrayer. All 90,391 words of it. Trust me, it won’t stay at the number for long once Bev and Amanda get a hold of it, but it feels good. Really good. I was sweating it out on this one, tremendously worried that it would be as brutal as it’d been writing Protector, but oddly enough, it was way quicker and less painful, which came as a surprise. A good surprise.

So I’ve been asking myself the essential question, “What was different this time around?”

Honestly, writing each book in this series has been a distinct and diverse experience. Not once in writing all three books have I come away thinking, “Huh. That was just like last time.” Some of that is because the content is different as the plot moves forward, some is because my style is evolving as the series progresses, hell, it could be that I’m often influenced by whatever I happen to be doing during that time period. It’s hard to say one way or another, and in all likelihood, it’s an amalgamation of all of that and more.

But there are some distinctions that I’d like to outline here:

Watcher cover1) Watcher was like getting on a roller coaster that you’ve never ridden before, and enjoying the hell out of the crank of the chain as you crest the hill and then screaming your head off when you go over the edge.

2) Having said said, Watcher, even having been re-written twice, could be re-written again, but at some point, you have to say enough is enough.

3) Writing your first book means that the only pressure is self-inflicted. It’s never like that again, especially if people like your books. There is ALWAYS someone waiting for the next one.

protector_kindle_fb4) Protector was a right ol’ bastard because I was 60% of the way through the first draft when I submitted Watcher to my now permanent editing team and then realized quite quickly that a big re-write of Watcher was in order. That meant Protector was dead, a complete redo – it just about kicked my ass, and had a profound effect on my psychological state. I came very close to chucking the towel in. It was total hell. Terry, my CP, and Amanda, my copy editor, were the only two forces that kept me going. I’m still grateful for their encouragement in keeping to the path. P.S. – never again.

5) Betrayer was a book that I was looking forward to writing since inception. It’s likely to be the darkest of the four books, and I’m not kidding when I say there are going to be some pissed readers. I’m no George RR Martin, but sometimes, bad things happen, and as an author, you let them. When you get close to the end of a series, the doors shut, the bridges get burnt. It’s scary, and with this book, there are no second takes. Once it releases, there’s no going back. So. If you are one of the readers who wants to send me hate mail – I get it. And it’s okay. Some days, I wanna hate me, too.

6) Destroyer scares me the most. It’s the end of a series that has come to mean so much to me. While the pragmatic, exhausted part of me can’t wait to finish the ride that I started with Watcher, I love Poesy, Adam, Birdie, Haylee, the whole gang at Paddy’s so much that saying good bye to them is hard and emotional. There will be a lingering uneasiness for me as to whether or not I made the right decision. If I gave them the endings they all deserved. But after Destroyer, it will be time to open myself up to a new set of characters who are screaming for my attention. I look forward to meeting them and I hope when the time comes, you’ll look forward to meeting them, too.

Anyhow, a couple of days off before the real work begins. Editing.

Tired but happy,

 

xo shawnee