Monday, February 16, 2009

Moving Forward Doesn't Always Mean Adding New Pages

On Friday I realized I couldn't go forward on my story without fixing and editing. I printed out my whole manuscript so far. Then I cleaned my desk. Major job. Huge. It makes me feel GOOD to have a clean desk. There's something liberating about it.

Today I spent from 9 until about 4:40 editing on the pages. I fixed my time frame. What I mean by that: One of the things I have to work at is getting the passage of time clear and concrete. I tend to write and write and obliviously pass time without being specific. I know I do that, so a few years ago in order to improve that aspect, I began printing out monthly calendars.

At I print out blank calendar pages. From I print the calendar from any year - this current story is set in 1882, the year of an exposition in Denver. So I filled out the blank months correctly and I keep track of story events on the dates. Works for me and keeps me accountable.

This story I'm working on happens to be one I love. It's a Harlequin Historical I'm calling Her Make-Believe Husband. I have a good feeling that the title will stick. Unless of course half a dozen other titles slated for the month have already claimed husband titles. Fingers crossed!

While I was reading through, I found chapters I had numbered incorrectly. I had a person alive at the beginning and then dead later. I changed one person's name part way through. I added a puppy that I kept forgetting about. And a whole lot more. The job took an entire pot of coffee and three cups of hot chocolate.

Then I took a shower and spent until 6 actually doing those edits in the file. It goes swiftly when I've done it on paper first. So I'm all caught up, have reevaulated my page goals and am ready to move ahead full steam toward the end. chugga chug chugga chug

And as it happens, I gained about 12 pages in the process.

I have notes of the things I need to remember tacked up all around me - great ideas and reminders and suggestions. Those are the things that make continuity flow and add the finishing touches. When it's going well like this, nothing feels better. And this one feels GOOD. Some books are easy, some are like pulling teeth. This one is bliss.

And gee, could it be because I've seen Australia THREE times that I keep picturing my hero looking just like Hugh Jackman? Not a bad thing.

Not a bad thing at all.


  1. WOW, Cheryl, you accomplished a lot!

    Yesterday I started working on my Christmas novella, but since it's in a Legend anthology, some of the initial set-up has to be agreed upon by all four of us. So I've stopped working on the novella til I know I'm headed the right way. Back (temporarily) to the other wip...

  2. I'm amazed. I could NEVER write a book. I can't remember how old I am let alone a cast of characters!

  3. I can't remember how old I am either, and it doesn't help that my hubands adds to my years at will.

    But as for my cast of characters, I have LOTS of notes. Lots.

    For this particular story, it is a tad more challenging than usual, because my heroine has a huge german family who are an important part of the story. At my chapter retreat, Bernadette and I roomed together, and at about 3 AM she made me do a family tree to keep them all straight. LOL It has worked great, though.

    My desk at my left elbow holds my binder with everything aout the story in it. Taped around at eye level are notes to remind me what I'm doing and where I'm going and things that are going to happen. Somehow by the grace of God, it all just meshes together and becomes a cohesive story.

  4. oh, and that was a plural, but I really only have one husband. LOL