vb – (often foll by: on) to chatter or babble pointlessly or at unnecessary length
n – pointless chat; chatter
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
I came to a revelation of sorts this past week about my current work-in-progress, Bound Beauty. For those of you who don’t know, it’s the third book in my Wylder Tales series.I love this series and writing it has been pure joy tangled with many moments of hard choices. The first incarnation of my story didn’t have a title, and not much of a first draft. It was simply my dark fantasy Beauty & the Beast retelling I worked on way back in 2009 😉 when publication was still a pipe dream. My second draft of the first book was simply titled Vynasha and I was still naive enough to believe it was brilliant. Let me tell you a hard-earned truth : it wasn’t. It still isn’t perfect. I have no doubt in 5-10 years I’ll look back at Wylder Tales and inwardly cringe the way I cringe when I look at Silver Hollow today. Because I’ve grown in my writing since then, thanks mostly to this series. Wylder Tales was going to be a duology originally, but then the story grew. I wanted a trilogy. Trouble is, I hadn’t written a trilogy before and there are so many things both challenging and rewarding. I’m still figuring out all the kinks.
Which brings me back around to my struggles with Bound Beauty. Earlier this year I wrote a bit about searching for the right beginning. Do I pick up right where Scarred Beauty left off or carry us further into the timeline? I planned to pick up two months later. For some reason the move felt right to me. Yet while writing that initial first draft I discovered I wanted to know what happened right after Vynasha howled with the wolves on that mountaintop. Don’t have a clue what I’m talking about? Pick up the series & find out!
So, I changed the beginning of Bound, writing pages and pages of “what happens after” the mountaintop scene and loved every second of it. But here is where I slipped up. I was so focused on telling the full story, I realized after a certain point, the pacing was going to drop significantly. Also, I could imagine up enough content to fill that two month gap which would turn into another, not quite as engaging book. So I either needed to “kill my darlings” or do something radical.
I chose radical of course! It was such an easy fix, I can only blame the fact I was too close to see it before. The pages I was writing the beginning of this year were meant for Scarred Beauty. Last year, I’ll admit I was in a bit of a time crunch rush to release. I reached and scrambled for the right ending, but I wasn’t 100% satisfied. Most authors I know are never satisfied with their work, so I called it a day.
The beauty of self-publishing is I can do crazy things like release a sequel, then release the extended edition later. It’s not an unheard of thing. But it did teach me a valuable lesson. Don’t release a book, no matter the “crunch” especially if you’re self-publishing. You’re your own boss! So why are you stressing yourself out needlessly? Also, as Indie Authors, it’s our duty to produce the best possible product for our readers. I’m a firm believer in this, again thanks to past mistakes. Only a crazy person repeats mistakes over and over again without learning from them. So this is me, confessing another little mistake, rewriting the story, because our readers deserve the best 🙂
Once I made the radical choice, I was ready to throw myself into Bound Beauty, aka, the story I started writing in the first place. My advice to my fellow writers is to follow your gut instinct with your books. These are your characters and your world. At the end of the day, you will know what’s best for them. Sometimes that means cutting and dicing them up, or patching them in different places in my case. While it’s important to pay attention to the genre we’re writing in, the readers we’re writing for, it’s also imperative to listen to yourself. Sometimes we can get so caught up what experts say we should do, we over-analyze and drive our stories into the ground before they can take off.
Keep in mind, much of my advice leans towards the pantser’s side of the game. While I write fairly detailed outlines, they’re always loose outlines. I write a scene and tweak it until it feels right, before going to the next one. I write linear because I want to carry these characters in a way that feels natural to me. Some of you are better at planning ahead than me (clearly ha!) and may not run into the same issues I have. Either way, I hope you are encouraged by my mistakes as you learn from yours. None of us are infallible, it’s what makes us human. Not even if we pretend to be omniscient demigod storytellers from time to time. 😉
Goals for this week
- Work on Wylder Tales marketing plan
- Finish revising/rewriting two chapters of #NewSilverHollow
- Reach out to my readers
“Don’t worry, Be happy”
The Revenge Muse -Eliza David, “Lady Writer”
“Find Your Readers” -Great Storybook
“The Romance Rehab Guide” -Romance Rehab (for mature audiences 😉