(I'm not going to link all the other parts anymore. Just click on the "Writers Journey" label to read them!)
Last time in this series, I talked about when the idea for Tower of Strength hit me like a bolt of lightning . . . and then how I had to wait a week to begin it.
For this book, the original drafting was pretty enjoyable. I had a lot of fun writing about Tabitha and Samuel individually as well as together. They both had some fascinating issues that I'd never explored before.
As always, though, a few moments crept in that gave me fits when my critique group saw them. I remember having to rewrite one scene (the one where Will sort of wrecks the printing room) several times to make it work. I've since heard from several readers that it's one of their favorites. (So yay for revisions!)
One big problem I ran into is something I've mentioned several times before, but THIS POST was my biggest rant over it.
This challenge began when I discovered (yes, I discovered it . . . I didn't make it up) that a horse would be a major part of the story.
Might as well tell me to write about the life of the jellyfish.
I remember sitting on the couch next to my husband, feeling pale-faced, and telling him, "I just found out that I have to do a ton of research for my new book. Crap!"
(He's used to living with a weird writer. This didn't faze him. I believe he patted my knee and said, "Good luck.")
So I hit the Internet for research with a vengeance. Many a time, I consulted a friend who grew up with horses.
I swear, those horse scenes gave me the biggest stress of the entire book. I rewrote and rewrote and rethought and at times had to restructure and replot, and at times wanted to torch the whole darn thing. But that part of the story became integral to everything else. I couldn't cut it.
Plus, one of the last horse scenes came to me very early on (the one where Samuel comes into the stall when Tabitha's already there . . . trying not to give spoilers here). I wrote it right away and then the rest of the drafting worked toward that scene. It belonged in the book.
Okay, then. Horses it is.
My horse-guru friend told me several things one day that she read weeks later in draft form and insisted were wrong. But I didn't invent them; there's no way I could have, because I didn't know a lick about horses. I'd gone off what she'd told me. But it was still wrong. I had to rewrite. Again.
To be on the safe side, I sent the final manuscript to yet another horse person for verification, and they caught a few more minor things (thankfully, nothing majorly significant that required hair-pulling revisions) to help me get it right (at least I hope). Phew.
Then I had a couple of critique friends read the whole thing front to back. They pointed out some flaws and holes. As always, they were right; I needed to fill in a few spots. (It's complete in my head . . . why doesn't it just come out on the page that way?!)
I turned it in and hoped for the best. This time, I was particularly nervous, because I was in the hands of a new editor. He wasn't new at editing by any means, but he was new to me.
I'd been exceeding lucky in that I'd had the same, very talented editor, Angela, for five books in a row. I trusted her judgment implicitly. She'd held my hand and talked me off many a wall and went to bat for me lots of times.
Plus, I'm not a person who deals well with change. So as grateful that I was to be handed over to Kirk (who I'd heard great things about), I was anxious about what the editing process would be like with someone else.
After the book was accepted, Kirk called. He asked if we could schedule a phone conference to discuss revisions.
Gulp. I'd never had an editorial phone conference. I mean, sure, Angela had called a few times here and there to clarify sentences or to ask a question about something small, but we'd never had a . . . DUN-DUN-DUN REWRITES DISCUSSION.
Did this mean there would be massive changes to make? I didn't think my nerves could handle another round of major rewrites of the likes I'd gone through with Spires.
I tried to sound all chipper when we scheduled it, but inside, I was an inch away from freaking out.
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