Monday, May 24, 2010

Major Plot Revision

Any writer who's approaching a deadline, whether imposed by someone or yourself, should know that it's always best to let a work rest for as long as you can, then review it, then revise it and send it.

In daily newspapers, you're lucky if you get 15 minutes to walk away from it.

In weeklies, you can build a day or two into a story's timeline to give it time to breath.

A synopsis is no different.

In this case, a friend asked to read mine. He's sent me the suggestions and I haven't opened the email yet because even though we had lunch and I know some of what it says, my fragile ego can't bring myself to open it.

(That is a BIG run-on, consider it reflective of my nervousness in this project.)

We're talking about Allegheny Beast. Over laughs and pizza, my friend Bill, my husband and I brainstormed changing the "villain" from the oh-so-cliché evil military compound to a paramilitary operation outside the government, or an evil pharmaceutical company, or a terrorist cell plotting biological weapons.

This is what is must feel like to work with a team of writers on a TV show. The ideas get bigger and better.

Now, why on Earth would I take a finished manuscript I had planned to submit to a major romance publisher's paranormal imprint and decide at the last minute to change the villain?

This isn't "let's make a few edits" or "tweak a character," this is major overhaul.

Yep, I'm crazy that way.

Like it wasn't enough to flip-flop genre, let's change characters too.

Such is the artists' life: You can't run from the impulse when your gut and your heart agree you'll have a stronger, more marketable manuscript.

For the record, this is not the same as the perfectionism I feel when I try to get Étienne's "frenchness" right in the Fashion and Fiends series. This is a change that improves the marketability of manuscript, not just me trying to be authentic.


  1. Your ego should remain rock solid regardless. You're one helluva writer and as you know, the critique is only full of suggestions. Let your internal editor be the final judge.

    As a writer, one of your strongest attributes is your willingness to seek and accept feedback, and your lack of trepidation when it comes to rewriting.

    Write on!

  2. Aw shucks... we all have moments of weakness and perhaps my 'fragile ego' is more nervous than fragile.

    I've become immune to rejections, comparatively anyway, and my 'doubt' in response to critique is fleeting, but I do thrive on fixing these problems-- and I'd rather hear it from people I respect. Honestly, in this business so much is subjective that by surrounding oneself by talented, honest folks it helps you evaluate future criticism.

    So, yeah, I'll be writing... And I'll open that email soon. I *can* handle it, it just stings a little. But I have a bit of a sadistic streak, so it's okay.

  3. Thanks. I hope to do another entry in the next 24 hours or so. About getting writing when you're stalled.