The first thing I learned was that I really couldn’t fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants with every single thing about the story!
I’ll take you back in time, to New Voices 2011, when the first version of Isle of Sensuality was finally penned. I thought it was fabulous, I loved the hot fling between Caitlyn & Jake on the Island, but my story didn’t place. I honestly didn’t care. The amount of fabulous entries made me realise a thing or two about my own writing and the feedback I got on the first chapter was priceless. After the top twenty-one was announced, I submitted a revised partial and synopsis to Mills & Boon.
Fast forward to January 2012 and I received a revise and resubmit from the editor. With it, she enclosed very helpful worksheets and character profile sheets suggesting that I use them to hammer down who my hero and heroine really were. I did, re-wrote the whole thing again like a mad woman, then sent off another three chapters and synopsis.
It still wasn’t quite right and she pointed out a few inconsistences with character motivation, predictability and plot issues. Having it spelled out made me see where I went wrong. After a few chats we decided to move onto a different story, aiming it for RIVA, but she asked that I send a one page synopsis outlining conflict, motivations and character development.
It was the best thing I ever did. I’d plotted out The Monster of Fame for NanoWriMo due to the nature of the story (its set during a reality singing completion) and as a result, it didn’t need much in the way of revising.
So the most important thing I’ve learned so far is to really get to know my characters before I begin writing instead of learning who they are as I go along. This helps give me a better idea of how to push each character to their emotional limits, what they’re most scared of and what will break them. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but it certainly helped me with Flirting With Trouble.
Next time, I’ll let you all know what I’ve learned through professional edits.