Home > Editing, Writing > So Excited When It All Comes Together

So Excited When It All Comes Together

I write these blog entries in those bursts of time (under 30 minutes) where I don’t think it’s worth pulling out my fiction. I have calls for my day job all morning. (Is it wrong that I kind of can’t wait for that to be over? I hate short-timer syndrome, but I totally have it right now.)

And I’m so irritated about being unable to focus on my story, because I had a breakthrough last night that I need to pursue. The editor’s feedback included the information that the ending felt tacked on, so I was in the process of taking the characters from their first night together through the HEA (that’s “happily ever after,” for my friends reading this who haven’t been OCD about reading romance writing boards). It definitely took the story to a better place. I already cared about my hero and heroine, but last night, when I finally had to hit the sack, I felt reluctant to leave them. They crossed the line from my puppets to people, if that makes any sense.

But it made the story so much better that my opening grated on my ears. Seriously. I found myself not reading the first page anymore because it was so painful. I couldn’t figure out what was hurting – the dialogue was pretty good, the characters were vivid, etc. But it felt all wrong.

Then I saw it, and realized the editor’s feedback had hinted at the problem all along. She’d said that for the line I’d submitted to, it took too long for the main characters to have their first sexual encounter. She gave me a little more detail as to what readers expect in that particular line, as well, though that’s not related to the fixes I’m making. She invited me to submit future things to her directly, but that does not mean she ever wants to see THIS story again. So there’s no point in making changes that will suit this story to her line. I’m making changes that will help me sell it elsewhere.

Anyway, during my lunch break yesterday, I was hanging out at Absolute Write and saw some advice from one of the veterans in terms of where to start a story. Paraphrased, it was “if it can be summed up as “Introducing SOANDSO” or “five years passed,” cut it. Start where the action does.” Of course I’d heard this advice a million times. But they can’t be talking about meeeeeeeeeeee…

But just for yucks, I cut everything above right before the two mains meet for the first time.

POW. Now the story works.

Sometimes amputation is the best option!

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