In fifteen years I’ve actually written 26 books counting twenty for Harlequin since 2005, three for the Wild Rose Press of which two are now indie published, and three manuscripts are still safely tucked away in my closet. I promise to never unleash those books on the poor unsuspecting public.
Over the years I’ve tried to pinpoint my writing technique, but each book always seems slightly different. I do best when I write the synopsis beforehand, adding a conflict grid for the main characters, and some basic character development. Then when I start the book, I kinda-sorta have a handle on things.
#20 was book two in a Medical Romance duet for Mills & Boon. I’d come up with the great idea about two brothers from Wyoming who were raised on a ranch and who’d both become doctors. Book #1 of that contract played itself out in my head and when I wrote the synopsis I literally outlined what would happen in each chapter. The synopsis for the second brother was a bit more vague – really, really, vague, but my editor approved it anyway giving me some things to think about. Instead of doing a character study with the seven part conflict grid that I usually do, I just sat and wrote out everything I knew about the hero and heroine. As their backgrounds came into view I began to write the book. I’d always intended this to be a play on Pygmalion, so the hero was a bit older than the heroine and she was rough around the edges and he was stiff and standoffish. It would be a mentor/mentee relationship gone astray.
Let me start by saying that not a single one of my books has ever started smoothly. It is always like wading through molasses for at least the first three chapters, but this book, number twenty, felt more like wading through tar throughout the entire process.
My husband had been gone for close to three weeks in early October and I was supposed to get a lot of writing done, but all I had to show for it was 14K because the characters insisted on hiding from me. Plus, I admit I was kind of blue about being alone. I also had a lot going on with my son’s upcoming long-distance wedding in early November, and by mid-October I couldn’t concentrate enough to write anything. We were away for six days during the wedding, then it was my birthday, then Thanksgiving, then I was called up for jury duty…well you catch my drift.
Slowly I got back into the habit of daily writing, and I insisted I write at least 2K any day I sat down. Some days I couldn’t convince myself to start, but finally I wrestled this beast onto the blank computer screen. By early December I had my first draft, which turned out to be my discovery draft. This was also different because I usually know how I want the story to go before I start. Not this time. I was way short on words the first time through, but since I’d discovered things as I wrote, the second draft wound up needing a lot of add-on scenes to make the story cohesive. Finally, earlier today I wrote the end, but had never felt more insecure about sending in a manuscript to my editor in my writing life.
Looking back, I think part of my hesitation was knowing this was the final book in my current contract. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write more, especially after struggling with this book! Back and forth I swung regarding whether I’d write more books for Harlequin, or wondering if I’d even be offered more contracts. I’ve often said I’d like that twenty-five book pin or keychain or whatever tchotchke it is that Harlequin gives these days. But after writing the most difficult book of my life, I was exhausted both mentally and physically, and I honestly don’t know if I have a single book more in me.
To be Continued…
- Will Lynne have the worst revision letter of her life?
- Will or won’t Lynne get another contract with her publisher?
As they say in the U.K. – Watch this space!
Have you been challenged by something lately that you really didn’t think you could overcome? Please share it.
Since it’s the season to be jolly, I’ll give a book away to one commenter.
Until next time, make it a great one!