THIS IS THE STORY THAT NEVER ENDS….

November 21, 2007 at 3:52 pm 4 comments

I’m talking about HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO BET? I thought I made it over 40k. Turns out it was only 37,800 words when finally counted. My lovely editor knowing I wanted it to be over 40k gave me the option to add more to the story. 10k to be exact. Once I picked my jaw off the floor I considered what that meant.

Did I have more 10k words in me for HMYWTB?
If I did how would that change the story?
More importantly was I adding just to be adding?

The truth is adding 10k would be stretching the story a bit. I did have at least 4k words left to add to the story. It was between the original 3rd and 4th chapter. The relationship needed more depth. The friendship between two characters needed to be seen on the page and the hero needed to look at his actions and at least start to wonder about his attraction to the heroine. After that I had nothing. Since I first wrote THE END on HMYWTB I’ve added close to 15k. Deleted a good 10k and rewrote those scenes adding another 5k. I looked at the book and realize at this time I couldn’t add anymore without ruining a damn good story. I’ve changed so much since 2005 that I can’t write in the same voice I once did. Nor could I tap into the same energy the book has. There is no more story in me. I let my editor know if my last try didn’t succeed to go ahead and send it to the galleys. *sigh* At least I didn’t go down without a fight.

So for listening to me whine I’m going to give you a sneak peek. This isn’t the final go through. Trust me there are many “that” I have to delete, which will further throw my word count below 40k. (As a side note I had her send me what the story looked like “clean”. I cried after reading the dedication page. I’m going to have a book published. It’s finally hit me.)This scene is from the second chapter on the date Gib won after beating Neil in pool. She’s trying to figure out how he won.It’s copywritten.I have the publication page to prove it….
_________________________________________________________________________________

Gib had taken her to a swanky restaurant, where the dinner napkins looked pressed and every few seconds the sudden urge to take her elbows off the table nearly overwhelmed her. Despite that, and Neil couldn’t believe it, she was enjoying herself. She dipped her finger in the remnant of chocolate mousse cake on the plate in front of her.

“So tell me, Gib, I’m still trying to grasp how you beat me at pool.”
His gaze followed her finger to her mouth. Her face heated as she licked off the chocolate. He hadn’t broken the no-touching rule, so why did she feel naked, sitting there with her finger in her mouth and him looking very jealous of it?

“My uncle taught me. It became a hobby, and when I was in college I won a few tournaments. How’s the cake?”

She cleared her throat. “Good.” She leaned forward at the easy way he had slipped in tournaments. “What kind of tournaments?”

His brown eyes roved over her face. “This is supposed to be a date, right? Let’s get to know each other.”

“You’re going to make this hard for me, aren’t you?”

“I’m an Aquarius. In my down time I like long walks on the beach. What do you do in your spare time?”

“I….” Paint is what she wanted to say, but caught herself. “I win pool games at The Tavern. Since we are back on the subject, what kind of tournaments?”

“I like to travel, and read, and there isn’t a bet that I can’t win.”

“Oh, please. You’re hedging,” Neil quipped, but the corner of her mouth quirked. “Travels, hmm? Any related to the tournaments you entered, oh, yeah, in your free time?”

Gib chuckled. Neil hated to admit she liked the relaxed, sensual sound of it. She sat up straighter in her chair. “So, what tournaments?”

“I lift weights, read poetry, and devote my time to those in need.”

“This is my alter ego and I’m really a superhero,” she challenged.

“You don’t believe me.”

The charm he exuded was effortless, she noticed. If she didn’t watch herself, Neil would be in big trouble. “It’s not because you can probably use money as Kleenex. It’s who you are. You come off as a carefree, no-attachments kind of guy.” She narrowed her eyes as his lips pulled into a smile. “Not withstanding, you can probably talk a nun into leaving a convent.”

“My mother always taught me you can do anything you put your mind to.”

The word trouble blared in her mind’s eye in big red letters. “You want to talk about yourself. Let’s talk about the tournaments you’ve won.”

Gib suddenly checked his watch. “Whew, look at the time. I have to get up early tomorrow.” He reached for his wallet.

She held up her hand, knowing he was still hedging. “You won, and I told you I’d pay for dinner.”

He signaled for the waiter. Before she could reach for the check, Gib handed the man a few bills.

“Excuse me, waiter, but hand the man back that money and give me the bill.” Her words were sharp. The warm feeling she’d harbored since the beginning of the dinner vanished. The young man stepped slowly to the table.

“You can just tack that onto the $200 you owe me.” Gib waved the man away. The gesture had the waiter scrambling from the table.

Neil didn’t want to be indebted to him. Some debts could never be repaid. “Sullivans keep their word, and I said I’d pay for dinner.” Other patrons turned toward her raised voice. She didn’t bother to lower it.

“You can pay me when I drop you off.” Neil would have argued her point, but his words were practical. It was a point of pride for her, something she needed to get control of. Plus, what bothered her more was how he kept brushing off her question about tournements. If her father had taught her nothing else, he’d taught her when to choose and pick battles. She’d let him stew, think she’d forgotten, and then she’d pounce.

Her opportunity came on their way back to town. The chatter on the ride was amicable enough. He seemed back to his relaxed state, fooled by her complacency. Hah. “You never answered me.”

“About what?”

Neil turned completely in her seat to face him. His face held no guile. Probably took years of practice, she thought. “What tournaments did you win in pool?”

He shrugged. “Nothing too big. You know the kind of games that really don’t matter at the end of the day. Kind of like what you’ve been winning down at The Tavern.”

“The Tavern is full of drunken men with bad eyesight. Nothing I would call a tournament.”

He pinched the bridge of his nose. “The Eight-Ball Nationals.”

“A tournament, my foot. That’s like calling the Super Bowl backyard football.” Gib winced, and Neil realized she was almost screeching. She took a deep breath. “What was your rank?”

He coughed something unintelligible, then said, “Look we’re almost at your place.”

Neil glanced out the window. They were at the end of her block. She could see the hedges of her yard, but Neil wasn’t getting out of the car until she had answers. She’d been swindled. “That’s nice. I didn’t hear your rank in the competition.”

“It’s not important.”

“The hell it isn’t. You made me think you were the average pool player.”

“You challenged me to a game, as I do recall.” He leaned over, and jerked the door open. Hmm, so he’s finally losing his cool. Temper settles well on him, she thought. His usually nonchalant attitude faded under it and his calm brown eyes flashed with heat. Neil shook herself from the observation and stepped out of the car.

As she turned to round on him once more, she reassessed the situation. Maybe being pleasant would get the answers she wanted. “You’re right. I did challenge you to a game. I’ll get my other purse and pay you the money you’ve earned. The game was very close.” She shrugged. “I would like to know where you ranked.”

“You’re a good player. You almost had me there a few times.”

Maybe her head swelled some more, because the compliment made her feel warm. “Thank you. Your rank?”

He stuffed his hands in the pockets of his the navy trousers. “I won the tournament three years in a row. The fourth year, I decided to retire.”

Neil hadn’t expected to hear that, and it took a moment to get her breath back. “Good night, Gib.”

He angled himself between her and the door. “Can I just say one thing before you storm into the house mad?”

He was close enough for her to smell him now. The smell made her feel nervy and hot, because the scent smelled good enough to bottle and drink. She’d agree with anything if he’d just move—closer. No, no, no, stay on point. “What is it, Gib?”

His gaze slid down to her mouth. “I want you to know that I believe you’d have won if I hadn’t kissed you.”
__________________________________________________________________________________

What she said next cannot be read in polite company. You’ve got to buy the book to find out. (See how smooth I moved into that.) Have a Happy Thanksgiving folks.

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Entry filed under: publishing woes, revising, writing woes.

MORAL OF THE STORY IS DO WRITER’S REALLY TAKE A BREAK?

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Toni Lyons  |  November 21, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    You know, your story is very good. I am truly interested in reading it. As a reader, I’m very hard to please and since I know a bit about writing, it make reading for pleasure difficult, usually I edit in my own BLA BLA BLA when I read but not in your story. Please let me ask; would you share your experince about the moment you realized, I can do this; I can be a successful writer?

  • 2. Mel  |  November 21, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    Toni, I love you! This is going to be long winded, but it’s my blog so who cares. You asked.

    “would you share your experince about the moment you realized, I can do this; I can be a successful writer?”

    And I have to say it wasn’t just one moment and the feeling definitely isn’t written in stone. Let me explain. When I first started writing it was just fun. I was addicted to playing with my imagination to see what I could come up with. I was very egotistical about the whole process. Secretly saying to myself “this writing thing is easy”.

    Then I learned better. I realized I knew diddly about what it took to write a book, what it took to finish a book, polishing, submitting, and doing it all again without going nuts.

    Those collection of moments built up. I gained confidence that I could write something decent.(Over a three year span and 3 books under my belt) I accepted that getting published is a combination of persistence and luck.

    Anyway, earlier this year I decided my craft and my love of writing was going to come first. I wasn’t going to worry about success, because it’s all fine and good, but if you are writing crap then it means nothing. (Trust me I’m as picky as you. I know crap is being published every day.)

    So to answer you’re question. It wasn’t I can be a successful writer, because the definition of success is subjective. It was I’m going to be a damn good writer, I’m going to keep learning and honing my craft, I’m going pat myself on the back so that what I’m saying to myself isn’t always negative, and the rest will fall into place.

    My thinking is completely naive, but as I said success is subjective. For me what’s more important is that I can be able to be proud of what I wrote. I wrote a good book, others may disagree. 10 years from now I may agree with the naysayers, but right now I’m extremely proud of my writing. People may frown about this comment. I’m supposed to be humble, right? Not when it counts. If you’ve never looked at your writing and said, “damn that’s good.” Then why are you writing? If you don’t believe you can move a reader then what’s making you sit down to write? The power is in knowing you can do better. Knowing tomorrow you’ll be a better writer than the day before. It’s having confidence you can damn well do it and do it good and if not try again.

    So today, right now, I can do this writing thing. And again tomorrow I’ll tell myself I can do this writing thing. I can’t speak for next week.

  • 3. Toni Lyons  |  November 21, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    I agree with your response. It makes sense. Your growing and each day you’ll get better than the day before. Won’t it be fun to see in 10 years time how much you will have improved? My thoughts resemble yours. Your my Hero…uh, Heroine 🙂

  • 4. Mel  |  November 21, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    It still boggles my mind how much my writing has changed in 3 years. My first book I threw in everything but the kicthen sink. About once a year I open up the word doc and shake my head.

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