Personal Best

Last July I came up with what I thought was a great idea. “I have three romantic comedies, category length but not Harlequin material, I want to put out as e-books.”

It’s true I have three books I want to publish. Except they are not romantic comedies.  Only one is category length. And it IS Harlequin material. The e-book idea got stopped dead when I had a  conversation with an e-pubbed author who said the “e” in e-book equals erotica.

So my pithy plan of last July turns out to be a little more complicated than anticipated. Except it got me to take another look at three manuscripts that deserve a second chance.

Yesterday’s read was originally category length, written for Harlequin’s Next. It got me my agent. And some interest from Harlequin. But they ultimately passed. So I added more story and then it sat with my agent for a year until we parted ways. Nobody at all read it. Until I read it yesterday. All 400 pages.

It made me laugh. I love the characters. The plot is tight. It’s a good read. I worked my ass off on that book. I thought I had an agent who could get me a contract so I worked harder on that book than I’d ever worked on a book before. And it shows. It’s the best thing I’ve ever written. Not perfect, but my personal best. 

The problems are small and fixable. Biggest issue is the three voices. The third is superfluous. I want to take it back to the two sisters who are totally different and sound that way. Every time I read the third pov I had to stop and think, wait now, who’s talking?

So that’s got to be tweaked but I love the bawdy tone, the funny situations, the underlying emotions my characters are working though. It’s for sure not Harlequin material now. It’s more mainstream. It’s got a great hook, too. This will be a good project for me to work on through the end of term, while I’m querying agents.

That way, when I get an agent with the Harlequin ms, and they say “do you have anything else?” I will have two more polished mss. to send them.

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  1. It must be a real pleasure to revisit something you’ve written and find that you enjoy reading it. It bodes well that the story stands up over time, and your plans for revision will only strengthen the story.

    My daughter and I recently had a discussion about holding onto an idea even though it no longer suits “as is” and needs revision. I let go of something this week that frees me up to move forward on a project I’m in the middle of. Maybe there’s something in the air….


  2. Cindy, congrats to you! 😉 I know what you mean how in revisiting your manuscript again it can bring pleasure. I didn’t think it was possible at first for it was such a setback and disappointment to realize the state of it all, but now, I am enjoying it and love it more than I did the first time! It feels good to be here today and to read this and to reflect on this again. I’m heading to my script now for some work, so this is a great intro for the day! Jenn


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