Wednesday, August 28, 2013

When the Story Isn't Working

Writing is hard work. That's a given. And if any of you think that all we have to do is just sit down at our computers and words magically spill from our imagination, well, sorry to say you're wrong. Okay, maybe they do come magically, but then we have to take those words and revise, edit, sometimes even delete them to get the best finished product we can.

My Intimate Portrait for this coming Sunday was going to be Richard Gaines. He's been a minor character in a few of my novels. His novel THE CAPTAIN'S LADY was actually the second one I wrote, to publish after THE LADY'S MASQUERADE. Only those were side tracked to write different things. As I learned the craft of writing a GOOD novel, I realized Masquerade and Captain's Lady were not ready for publication -- AT ALL. Not until I'd done some major rewriting.

Last year, throughout the year, I took on the task of diving in to MASQUERADE to revise and edit. There was a lot of work to do. I wrote this book in 2007. Five years, three novels, and four novellas later, it did not hold up. The plot was convoluted, the characters had changed drastically. I was also foreshadowing events for the last book of the series, so I needed to make serious changes.

As any good writer knows, you need to let a finished product sit for awhile. You basically need to be able to forget what you wrote so you can look at it with "fresh eyes". Which is why the revisions for Masquerade took almost a whole year. With each major change, I needed to let it sit again.

But now I have the challenge of doing the same thing for THE CAPTAIN'S LADY. I decided to scrap the original novel. Totally. I began writing a whole new book the other day. I wrote two whole chapters. And I realized that storyline wouldn't work either. Neither would my "new" Amanda. I didn't like her attitude. So I went back to the original story, which I've always loved.

However, although the plot remains basically the same, the setting is going to be different. I never did the research required when I wrote this book way back when. Now that I have done so, I found Richard cannot go to America to save Amanda. England was right on the cusp of the War of 1812 with America. For Richard to go would be a complete nightmare to figure out how to get him there and get out. Historical accuracy and all that.

So I've changed the storyline a little bit. I'm hoping it works. The original setting was in Boston. This new setting is in Manchester, England. And perhaps a little teeny bit of America. I'm not sure. Truthfully, the biggest problem I have is if I change the story completely, I'll have to change the cover copy in all the previously published books. And that, my dear readers, is a horror show. I'm just not up to the task.

And maybe you're wondering why I just don't scrap this project all together. If Richard is such a minor character, why bother writing him at all. Well, because he's been with me from the beginning. As well as William and Robert. Their stories have been told, so I think I owe it to Richard to tell his.

It may take me a little while longer to get this finished (depending on  how much I can save from the original manuscript -- which at this point I'm thinking not much) but I know how the story starts, where it goes, and how it ends. Hopefully, I can have it ready by Thanksgiving.

That being said, I've torn my rotator cuff again, so I'm not sure how or if I'll really be able to write. I went to the doctor yesterday and now have several other appointments with several other doctors, MRI machines and CAT scans so we'll see how it plays out.

 I may not be posting for awhile depending on what happens. I hope you all have a great week.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

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