Yesterday I made things a little harder on myself by reading through the first chapter of Embellishments, in my own words “the best thing I’ve ever written.” Wanted to see if maybe I should send this agent that first chapter instead of the category romance opening.
Upon second read, Embellishments showed its flaws. I still love it, but it needs so much cutting to keep the pace from dragging. I know now how I want the set up chapters to go. I dove into the edits, took out entire scenes (like three of them! out of six!) and found that in some cases a simple sentence served instead of an entire scene. So I cut and cut and got an excellent first chapter.
After all that, which was not for nothing, because I think Embellishments is going to be a great book after I take out the slow bits, I still had to look at my first chapter of Blue Heaven. The agent had mentioned that the opening was a little confusing. I knew I needed to more firmly ground my characters in their setting.
So, did that and also got rid of a few paragraphs of backstory that had somehow escaped Susan’s edits. Susan is a copy editor for our largest Detroit newspaper. She edits the hell out of my pages when we get together. And I love her for it. She probably didn’t miss those bits I took out. I probably stubbornly kept them in. But the agent was very clear. Don’t do backstory, unless it occurs naturally in conversation or a short bit of internal monologue.
So then I had two great first chapters, so which to send?
In the end, I went with the category. I decided to go that way for the same reasons I decided to break into this market in the first place. There’s more room in publishing for a new category writer than there is for a new women’s fiction writer. And I write short books.
Woohoo! Congrats on all the editing.
It is so hard sometimes to just let go of the attachment we have to what we wrote… and delete what isn’t good for the story.
I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about BH. I hope she loves it as much as I do. 🙂
What a process! I am beginning to understand why it takes such dedication to be a published writer. You have to be analytical, flexible, and tenacious.
Sounds like it’s really coming together.
It feels like, after all this time, and all this work, things are finally coming together. I’ll keep y’all posted;-)