Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hocus Pocus Focus

Between the holidays and the volunteer position I have for my daughter's school, the last couple of months have been crazy nuts. As you know, during this time I've also been trying to finish THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE. Believe me, I learned my lesson and I will remember this for next holiday season and schedule myself accordingly.

During Thanksgiving week (which we had vacation) I literally chained myself to the computer. I think I mentioned that. I was trying to finish the book by Christmas. It didn't work.

During the holiday break (19 days) I did the same thing. I practically blew my family off on Christmas Day because I received my critique partner's critiques on Christmas Eve and I wanted to work on the story while her changes were still ringing in my head.

One of the things my "critter" said, was that the book was all about Richard.
Richard and Robert
Richard and the pirate
Richard and his crew
Richard and the boat

There was really nothing written about Amanda. Two very short chapters and maybe an inserted scene into one of Richard's chapters. And then my Critter asked "Where is the chapter between Penny and Amanda? Aren't they friends? Isn't that who Amanda wanted to see from the beginning of the book?"

Duh. Talk about a face palm. Because my focus had been entirely on Richard, I pushed Amanda out of the story almost completely. And you can't have a romance if you don't have two people. So for the last two weeks, I've been working only on the chapters between Amanda and Penny. I finished them a couple of days ago and sent them off to my #1 Critter. Guess what...she loved them. Totally loved them. Aside from a few minor word changes, they're good to go.

While writing the book, I noticed I hadn't written much on Amanda. I kept putting it off, focusing on the research (which by the way, was a BEAR), and trying to keep my pirate stories straight. A lot of twisting and turning there. I assumed I would just get to her when I did. I wasn't worried, okay, maybe a little nervous. I needed to tell Amanda's story and I didn't know where to put it. Thankfully my Critter is an amazing writer herself and when she asked me about Penny, it all clicked.

Now, I'm going to tell you a secret about writers. We generally can't write our characters (men, women, vampires, yetis, aliens alike) unless we take a little piece of ourselves and insert it into that character. And this piece doesn't have to be much, but it has to be there. My trouble with Amanda was that I had no idea which part of me I wanted to give her.

Richard had already had my commanding presence. (ha, get it. When I worked in the restaurants, I was in command. He's Captain on a ship. Get it. Never mind.) However, I had no idea what to give Amanda. And that's why she's been so blocked for me. Once I realized Amanda and Penny were going to have "girl talk" and Amanda poured out her soul, BAM, there it was. That little piece of me she needed to give her "character". (If that makes any sense. Well, it does, but that needs to be another blog post.)

I also have to tell you, that while my focus was entirely on Penny and Amanda, I wrote about 2000 words a day. Which for a working professional writer should be a piece of cake. However, the last few months, my words counts were in the hundreds per day. (That itself is so discouraging. When you either don't have the time to focus, or just can't focus because of the events of the day, writing feels like a ball and chain.) I also have to say, that within these chapters, editing was a piece of cake. Not so many corrections, just a few word choices I had to change.

So, I guess I've found my focus once again on this book. With 8 years behind me, Richard and Amanda's story is finally being told. I really really really want to finish this by the end of January. If nothing else gets in my way, I think I will.

If you'd like to read the first chapter, you can go to Amazon or Smashwords and grab a copy of  A HUSBAND FOR MISS TRENT. At the back of that book, is the first chapter. (Give it a couple of weeks for Sony, Apple, Kobo)

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

2 comments:

  1. A fresh eye on our writing is like sunshine on the darkness; then we can see.

    It's nice when the pieces fall into place. Good Luck!

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  2. Oh, yes, I must agree. This book has been so hard, right from the beginning. I probably should never have written it, but now that it's almost over, I think it's going to be a nice little book.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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