For the record – this is the character I saw when I wrote Lilly, not the lovely lady on the book cover.

It took writing five full length books before I sold to a publisher in 2005. The process of writing and completing those books taught me so much, things I’d have never found out if I’d had the option of self-publishing. Back then, e-book publishers were fighting to be considered legitimate. Things have changed so much now, but I digress.

One of the main things I learned by writing several books before I made the cut was that sometimes a book stinks and should never be published, but it still might have a few really good scenes in it. It also taught me that sometimes those fabulous scenes I dreamed up weren’t meant for that original book at all.  Now I call it harvesting my stories.

It has happened time and time again as I write new books, where I’ll remember a scene I’d written years ago and think, wow, that would totally work for this book and this character. That’s exactly what happened in Her Perfect Proposal.

Long ago, in the second book I’d ever written, I put in a “tea ceremony” scene. But honestly, it didn’t make any sense for that book, yet, novice author here decided that was the scene I wanted to bring the hero and heroine together with. As I mentioned, that book (thankfully) will never see the light of day.Her_Perfect_Proposal_170

When I wrote Lilly and Gunnar’s story for Her Perfect Proposal, the tea ceremony made perfect sense. Of course I didn’t take that old scene and plop it into my current book as it was. I took the essence of the scene and (grateful for the previous research) tweaked it for my heroine and hero. Lilly has done something that has caused Gunnar not to trust her, and feeling awful, she consults her grandmother who tells her what she must do. As it turned out, that scene is one of my favorite scenes in this book.

The only way Lilly knows how to make things up to Gunnar is to follow her grandmother’s instruction, and to perform a Japanese tea ceremony for him to help re-establish trust.  She gave Gunnar very specific instructions for where to wait for her.  This snippet is the moment when she shows up from Gunnar’s point of view.

A shadow quietly crossed before him. He cracked open his eyes. Lilly stood in front of the wicker chair, a soft and beautiful vision outlined by the clear powder-blue sky. Her hair was slicked back and she wore a morning-glory-blue kimono with a white sash making her look like a modern-day geisha. The sight rocked him to the core and nearly knocked him out of the chair. She smiled and Gunnar responded with a dumbfounded grin. Subtle warmth spread from his gut outward to his limbs as he could no longer deny that this crazy big-city sophisticated lady-gone-geisha was the woman he wanted in his life more than anyone.
And it goes on from there… 🙂

Her Perfect Proposal – an R.T. TOP PICK 4 1/2 star review for March 2015.

Amazon    Harlequin    Barnes & Noble    Books-a-million

Authors – Have you ever harvested old manuscripts for scenes?

Readers – Do you think less of me for doing this? (Be honest) or Do you like knowing about how a scene came about in books?

Until next time, make it a great one,

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  1. Marie Miller says:

    Hi Lynne,
    I’m reading everything from authors like you…I am going thru a learning process of cultivating important skills that can only make me a better writer. Working on editing and rewriting scenes to make sense in my first novel I understand what you are talking about…I like your your term ‘harvesting your stories’ …if scenes from other stories can give more life and validity to another story then so be it…I will remember this as I journey thru this exciting writing experience..Hugs my friend

    • Hi Marie!
      I’m so sorry I didn’t see your comment sooner. I was away and didn’t spend much time at my computer. Apologies.
      Anyway – I love your process and I guarantee, keep it up, and you will learn much and reap success, one step at a time.

      I am so honored that you consider me a good source to study.

      hugs and thanks,

  2. robena grant says:

    I really enjoyed the traditional tea ceremony. Very nice.
    Can’t say I’ve ever harvested a scene from an unpublished manuscript, but I have noticed certain similar elements creep into my books. 🙂 Must read through some of those older works. Whenever I find time. Eeep! Time for some work now.

    • Hi Robena – You don’t have to harvest scenes when you’re able to sell your earlier works, too! But yes, do take a look at some of those early books. As I recall there were some great scenes in say, The Legend of Crying Girl Lake? And what about that ghost story with the orange groves? There were some very interesting scenes there, too. 🙂