The Romance Reviews

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Not so Completely

It’s supposedly summer here in the Midwest. All the signs point to it: my collies are supplying undercoat to line the sparrow nests, which I’m sure the mommy and daddy sparrows appreciate to give their little ones a warm, soft place to grow up; the trees are in full leaf; the grass is green (and DH is mowing once a week); the pool is open and the annual battle to get the algae out of the water after wintering has begun; the garden is in; and the mosquitoes, chiggers, and no-see-ums have returned in force due to a cool, rainy spring and so far the summer is following that trend, and I’m not looking at judging panels due to the fact all my collies are shedding.

Usually in the summer, I’m able to concentrate on getting at least the rough draft to two stories in place. Usually…so far this summer, I haven’t had the time to write. Now that I finally do, I’m not writing anything new. Instead, I’m gutting an older romance (the very first one I wrote lo these many moons ago) and completely reworking it so that I can submit it to my publisher. For more than twenty years, this romance has been titled Completely and has moved from my Brother Word Processor, to my first lap top and to every subsequent lap top. 

I had toyed with the idea of self-publishing that romance and decided I didn’t want to go that route.
Gutting and reworking that romance is harder than I thought. This is a couple that has been with me from the very beginning. It was into their world I escaped when reality became just too ugly to bear. When I was ready to give up on the dream of ever being a published author, it was their voices I heard, pleading with me not to let their story die untold. It was her love of Wyoming that I felt the first time DH and I went to that wild, open, harsh and beautiful land.

Because they make an appearance in both The Devil’s Own Desperado and my upcoming release Smolder on a Slow Burn I’ve known all along I will have to finally share their whole story. Harrison Taylor with his seeming inability to see any of the finer shades of gray and Rachel’s down-to-earth common sense combined with her indomitable and unflagging will to thrive are the cornerstone I’ve placed for a whole series of romances set in the town of Federal, in what was then the Wyoming Territory.

The hardest part of gutting and reworking their story was convincing both of them that I had to do this. When it’s been their voices, their story, I’ve carried with me for so many years, they have an annoying and unnerving tendency to start screaming at me when I change something that whatever I’m changing “Isn’t how it happened!”

While reworking their story, I realized I was starting it in the wrong place. I didn’t need the introduction of Jake Giles on the very first page. I could still show Rachel’s strength without Jake. When I rewrote that opening scene, I must have done it right, because both Rachel and Harrison were conspicuously silent in the back of my head. There was no mutterings, no exasperated sighs, no outbursts about that not being how the events unfolded.

I’m about halfway through reworking the entire story line and I realized that a pivotal moment can’t happen when it originally did. I wonder if they’re going to complain when I change that.


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