So I'm on book tour right now, and while it's been WONDERFUL to see so many people and talk with everyone and tour the lovely cities Penguin is sending me to and get to know Andrea, Marie, and Jessica better, it is also EXHAUSTING. So...I've not posted nearly as often as I usually do. But! I do want to take a moment to remind everyone of two things:
1) If you want signed copies of my books (or any of the other books by the lovely ladies on tour with me) we have signed stock at every single book store event, and they have copies available and are able to ship nationwide (and worldwide in the case of the larger stores). Please check out the list of tour stops and contact the store closest to you for signed copies.
2) Don't forget to enter my contest for ALL SEVEN BOOKS ON TOUR--SIGNED! You guys have officially brought the Facebook Likes for the Breathless Reads page over 2,500, so ALL SEVEN BOOKS are going to one grand prize winner! And true to my word, I've been collected some additional prizes along the way...so there will actually be multiple winners. I have badges already (YAY!) and hope to get some posters soon. Also, there might be ARCs involved. Just sayin'. Contest entry post is the one directly below this post.
OK! Onto the post!
So, last night PRIDE AND PREJUDICE was playing on the hotel movie channel, and it got me thinking about writing (surprise, surprise). I realized that the love in the movie is actually very similar to my different stages of writing a novel. I'm currently in the midst of rewriting SHADES OF EARTH (with a new! exciting! ending!), and it's put me firmly in Stage Three of the Falling In Love Writing Process.
How is writing like falling in love, Jane Austen Style?
Stage One: Lydia and Wickham
In PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, the stupid sister, Lydia, becomes infatuated with the horrid player Wickham. She makes a stupid decision to run off with him, which would have led to her "ruining" in society had Mr. Darcy not forced Wickham to marry her. Nevertheless, Lydia never sees anything wrong with Wickham and thinks that he's the most wonderful man on Earth, despite the fact that he's a complete and utter douche.
This is the first stage of writing, the final copy of the rough draft. When I first finish a novel, I look at it with starry eyes. It can do no wrong. I truly believe I will send it out to critique partners or my editor, and it will come back with nothing but gold stars and smiley faces on the manuscript. I have no idea that my manuscript is flawed; I see right past it all and believe it's nothing but good.
Which makes me as stupid as Lydia at this point.
Stage Two: Elizabeth and Darcy Hate
When Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy first meet, it's hate at first sight. They don't get along. They see nothing but each other's flaws. They want to utterly tear down the other one, and spend their time ranting at each other.
This is when I first start editing. I look at the book and wonder why I ever wrote such trash. I taste bile when I think about how I actually let other people READ it. Ugh. This thing needs to go in the trash. I might as well start over.
Sure, there might be a few redeeming qualities. After all, Elizabeth admits that Mr. Darcy is a handsome man, and polite. Maybe the manuscript needs an overhaul, but there are a few scenes that might be okay...after some time apart, I might start seeing a few glimmers of hope (just as Elizabeth started liking Darcy when they were separated)...
And this leads me straight to... Stage Three: Elizabeth and Darcy Love
There's a moment in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE where Elizabeth suddenly realizes that Mr. Darcy's not a complete tool. She recognizes that he's not perfect, but she's able to see past that to his intent, and realize that he's actually a good man. And perfect for her. Likewise, somewhere between editing/rewriting and finishing the new draft, I reach a moment where I can both see what was wrong before, but look past it to the beating heart of the story.
It's a magical moment, just like falling in (real) love. It's when I can see that the story's not perfect (no story ever is) but I'm reaching the point where it is perfect for me. I love it--really love it, not like Lydia loves Wickham. Lydia turns a blind eye to Wickham's faults, but Elizabeth doesn't--and neither do I. I see the faults, and I try to make them better, or I try to make the reader see that the faults are a part of the story. I am not afraid to chop off parts that don't work, I'm not afraid to admit that my opinion was wrong. I love it, and I want to make it better. And I believe in it.
This is the point where I'm at with SHADES OF EARTH right now. I went through the Lydia love--I actually expected to have just a few edits, lol! And for much of the past two months, I've been in the Hate mode. I couldn't see any value to the book at all, and I wanted nothing more than to throw it all away. But I'm back in love now, real love, and I've found the beating heart of the story, and all I want to do is relish in the words and sling them about like flower petals at a wedding.