Archive | July 2013

Reconstruction

Since the South went through a difficult period of Reconstruction following the Civil War, then I “reckon” it’s appropriate that I’m going through Reconstruction with my trilogy, “Southern Secrets.”

The trilogy takes place for the most part in Mobile, Alabama, six years after the end of the war. When I wrote it, I was writing in an omniscient format. After learning about the romance market, and the fact that the current market prefers single person point of view, I decided to take on  the task of changing my trilogy.

This is a MAJOR undertaking. In previous posts I described the length of these books, but if you’re new to my blog, then I’ll go ahead and re-tell. Each book is between 190,000 and 250,000 words.  Because I was in everyone’s head, I shared thoughts of the simplest characters. (Even the cook, who rarely spoke!)  Now I’m dissecting each chapter.

In case you have to tackle a similar project, here’s how I’m going about it. Maybe this will help you.

First I had to decide which characters are the most important in my books. Of course, the hero and heroine are the logical choice. I’m going one step further, since these books are epic tales, and a few minor characters take on rather major parts of the story line. So, I decided with Book one, to be in the heads of four characters. The hero, heroine, and another couple who ends up having their own story which filters into Book two.

Next, chapter-by-chapter, I decide whose point of view is the most relevant. Of course, it’s alright to have more than one point of view in a chapter, but not at the same time. If you plan to switch POV, then be sure to make the switch obvious. You can do this by adding an extra space between paragraphs, or even using a simple *** separation, centered on the page.  Then, I scan the chapter to see what needs to be deleted.  I have a separate word document opened, entitled “omitted,” which is where I paste anything I’ve cut from the text. I want to be certain that I haven’t lost any important details to the story line. As I add those details in other ways, (conversation, etc.), I highlight the facts on the omitted sheet, so that I know they’ve been dealt with.

I also initially had a four page “introduction” in Book one. It’s gone. I learned a lot about “info dumping” over the last two years. There was no need for an introduction at all. Everything comes to light within the story.

It’s scary removing text! But what I’ve found is that I’m going deeper into the feelings of my characters, and I’m not losing anything from the story. I’m gaining so much more!

In addition, because I’m not so blatantly telling everything, it leaves a greater mystery for the reader.

When I originally considered changing my books, the simple thought of it stressed me out! But now, as I’m doing it, I’m having a ball!  Not only am I revisiting characters that I love and a story that I cherish, but I believe in my heart that I’m making it better. I certainly hope so!

My mom, (who is my biggest supporter), is more nervous than I was about my changing the books. She loves them the way the are. So, to keep her calm, I saved a copy of the omniscient versions. I hope that when all is done, she will read the new books and love them just as much.  Keeping my fingers crossed!!

My other hope is that I can trim these books down to maybe 150,000 words each. That’s my goal.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Write On!!

Mt.Rainier9

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Life Happens…

For those of you who follow my blog, I apologize that I’ve not been posting recently.

Many of you know that for the past four months, I’ve been a full-time caregiver for my mother-in-law. On July 3rd, she passed away. For several years she had battled Alzheimer’s disease, and the last month of her life was very difficult. I know there are many of you who have dealt with family members with this disease, so I’m sure you can understand how hard it was.

I’m happy to say that the decision we made to bring her home from the nursing home was a good one. The first three months, she made remarkable improvements. She gained weight, (liked my cooking!), and even though we were told by the nursing home that she would never walk again, we got her walking with the assistance of a walker. We saw her smile, and laugh. Something we hadn’t seen in a very long time.

It wasn’t always easy. There were nights that she was unable to sleep, and there were times she would try to get up and walk on her own, forgetting that she didn’t have the full use of her legs. So, we had to watch her constantly. But still…as hard as it was…I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

In her final week, she was no longer able to eat, drink, move, or speak. It was heart-breaking seeing her that way.  Hospice helped us through the final week of her life, and I’m grateful for their love and gentleness with her. I believe in my heart that she is now in a much better place, and no longer suffering with confusion and inabilities.

Strangely enough, I finished writing my newest book, “Forgotten,” the day before she died. I know that whenever I re-read it, I will be reminded of where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing while writing it. A part of her will always be in the pages.

Thank you, Mama, for your love and inspiration…

The last photo I took of Mama

The last photo I took of Mama