I had hoped to have an extra-special post today. As many of you know I’m preparing for the release of my first contemporary romance, SATIN PLEASURES, by the end of this month. Alas, I must wait to share my new book cover and book blurb with you. The cover isn’t finished. Sigh. With any luck, I’ll have it for you next Monday along with the announcement the book’s available for sale.
It drives me crazy when I don’t have control over absolutely everything!
There, I said it. I’m a control freak. A nice appellation is “Type-A Personality” but we all know that simply means that I worry things into perfection. I write and revise and write and revise my manuscript pages daily. This blog post will be revised half a dozen times as I write it.
Blast through an entire story and then go back and edit? Pshaw! Each scene I write is completely revised at least ten times before I type THE END on a manuscript. I can’t go on until I’ve gone back over the previous 2-3 scenes.
In theory, I know this methodology was born as a result of the years I spent in revision as a pure pantser. Yeah, I know it’s hard to believe I was ever a pantser but, believe me, it’s true! I used to get up each morning and write whatever came to mind. I didn’t plot anything and went wherever my muse took me. I wallowed in the creativity I didn’t allow anywhere else in my life. Completely unfettered, I wrote one of my earlier novels in eight weeks!
I don’t know where that writer went. I can’t even pinpoint exactly when she disappeared into the mist. It was a gradual thing and can be attributed to a number of factors. Spending months, years in perpetual revision was only part of the transition. I learned a lot about the craft of writing during that time. POV (Point of View). Characterization. Plotting, etc. Each skill I added to my repertoire made it more difficult for me to separate my creative side from my pragmatic side. When I made the subconscious decision to turn my love for writing into a career—yes, it was subconscious long before it became a conscious decision–my business background took hold, my stories became creative products, and the rest, they say, is history.
I’m not saying this transition was all bad. Writing a novel in eight weeks doesn’t guarantee the story’s good enough to publish. Interestingly enough, SATIN PLEASURES was that novel. Creatively, it wasn’t a bad story. In fact, it was a RWA® Golden Heart® finalist back when the only thing they looked at was the first three chapters and synopsis. (The book didn’t need to be finished then to be entered. I only had the first three chapters and synopsis, but I was the Queen of Pristine Proposals!) But I didn’t win, the story didn’t sell despite the fact several editors like many things about it. I just hadn’t grown into my skills. I wasn’t quite “ready for prime time.”
I’ve since forged a comfortable balance between my creativity and my skills. Well, most of the time, it’s a comfortable balance. The editor perched on my shoulder does have 12-inch talons embedded in my creative soul! I plot using the “W” technique I teach. I focus my attention on making sure I use my technical skills to create a coherent, compelling story. And my muse has learned to dance in whatever scene she wants in whatever order she wants. (Yes, I’m a non-sequential writer 🙂 ) Thanks to this alliance, I’m now ready to present my book to the world.
Yet, I’m discovering there are still things I can’t control. Like my cover art. My creativity doesn’t include drawing a straight line with a ruler, let alone designing the gorgeous cover I want. So, I have no choice but to let someone else do it. Which means I have no control…and that just makes me crazy. 🙂