A Wolf of Her Own, my upcoming third novel in the Two-Natured London series is currently undergoing heavy revising. And I mean heavy. My books always change enormously during the rewrites, but this one has almost become a different book.
I don’t plan my books much before starting them. I usually have a brilliant idea, a character or two, and a goal where the plot should be heading. Those elements remained more or less unchanging in this book too. Everything else, however, was free game.
Scenes changed places to make the pace better. A character was edited out completely and another, different character appeared, but not to take the first one’s place. My hero and heroine gained characteristics and lost others in order to make them more believable and to make their love story worth rooting for.
The changes are worth the effort, however, if the result is a better book. And let’s face it. No one will know what the original version was like. The only thing the readers will see is the finished book.
It hasn’t been an easy lesson to learn. When I was revising my first book, my heart bled every time I had to make major cuts. Now, writing my fifth book, I didn’t even blink an eye. If a character had to go, it would get cut. Some of the deleted scenes I may be able to use elsewhere, but most likely they will be gone forever. And that’s fine. Nothing I write is so perfect I would have to cling to it.
As I was preparing for this post, I came across 8 Lessons to Learn from Screwing up Your Manuscript by Victoria Mixon. It more or less affirmed what I had already concluded:
- Writers get to erase.
- Nobody can tell how many times you’ve erased.
- Plots are endlessly adjustable.
- Characters can’t rat you out.
- Settings always look as good as new.
- Dialog gets more interesting as it gets more disjointed.
- Actions are always replaceable.
- In imaginary space, no one can hear you scream.
EVERYONE SCREWS UP