I've been working on the new edition of my romance novel, A Tryst of Fate, lately. I'm tightening the prose, reformatting the interior, adding to scenes, catching the typos, and designing a new cover. As I’ve done with the others, I’m republishing the old work, under my Pages Promotions imprint… for legacy’s sake, and legal control. Writing is a business, after all, and these things must be considered.
As I was working yesterday, I was caught quite by surprise with the strong emotion of one particular chapter... and then a second. Different emotions, both were equally powerful.
I think it’s an interesting thing, going back through my work from several years ago. This book was initially published in 2016, so it’s been five years since I’ve actually read the story in it's entirety. Once I finish a book and release it into the wild, I rarely go back to reread it, as a reader might. Usually, I’m focused on the marketing plan, and writing next project. I don’t usually stand back and stare at my work, the way a painter might.
Of course, I remember the story, the characters, the plot progression, where the twists are introduced, and how they are resolved… but I forgot about the emotions. I forgot that when I wrote this book, I was drawing on the memories of personal experiences and moments in time… my time. I included many of my own wishes, hopes, dreams, pieces of the people I knew, and the reality of life as I understood it then. I forgot just how powerful it can be when I use those fragments of my own life in my work. Certainly, I do that with every project I write. The book I’m working on now, for instance, which I started in November (my NaNoWriMo project) has tremendous emotion, favorite places, tinges of people I know, and strong memories…but…
As an author, when I’m in the middle of creation, I’m living fully in that moment. I don’t always know, cognitively, where I come up with my ideas, or how I fashion my characters. Even as a Passionate Plotter, I can’t always be certain how a particular feeling or movement will show up in my work. Most of the details, I leave up to Drake, and simply allow his intuition to emerge on the page. I try not to interfere too much with that stuff. In several cases, I’ve looked back on my work during the polish phase, and found myself asking, “When did I write that?” Knowing full well, it was the Duck’s intervention, and I had very little to do with it.
Then, through the editing, I’m disconnected, looking more for mistakes and making corrections… dissecting it piece by piece, ignoring the forest for the trees. I put a microscope on my work, and fine tune every nuance. I detach. It’s important work. It needs to be done this way, to connect the pieces, and tie up the ends. Continuity conflicts can only be caught in this micro examination of the work, because my brain is so good at mushing everything together the way my teachers taught me to read, filling in the holes automatically. So, I touch through the leaves, one by one, forgetting how majestic the forest can be, when taken acre by acre.
Through this process, I sometimes forget the impact my work can have on the reader. Yes, I want to provide them with a great story, an afternoon, or perhaps several afternoons, of wonderment and escape into our imagination, mine and the Duck’s. And yet, I think, sometimes, I forget to revisit that space myself. I’m often so concerned with making sure it’s done right… I forget how right it already is.
So, if you find that my next books take a bit longer to release than is “expected” it is because I’m allowing myself to transform back into a reader first. I want to truly absorb my work’s affect to be sure it aligns with my work’s intent. If the story stirs questions, emotions, surprise, and wonder in me… that’s when I know it’ll be ready for readers… and the Duck can move on to the next project.
Although, in truth, I have zero control over the little quacker, and that’s not such a bad thing, either.
For those who might be wondering… the new edition of A Tryst of Fate should be released by month’s end. I'll post something on social media, when it's available.
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