Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Signs of Obvious

Well, as a true believer of signs (kismet fate karma what-have-you) it's apparent that I'm receiving quite a few from the writing gods.

You know how I said on Monday that I thought my ms. was muddied up with too much information, too many threads, too much tension? Well, it's now obvious to me that it's not. Okay, maybe not, I'll let you decide. Here are the signs.

1)Monday morning 1am - after Monster Child's stuffy nose incident, I lay awake in bed until 5:30 thinking about the story. She also did not go to school on Monday and was in my hair all day, so I only got a chance to read through up until the story started to get twisted. I made a few small changes but nothing to sink my teeth in.

2)Tuesday morning 8am - My mother called just as I had come home from dropping Monster Child off at school. I had planned to work all day on the ms. However, she was bringing the car in for service and needed my help, and while we were at it, this was the only day she could go to Kohl's as her schedule for the rest of the week was booked. She had a 30% off card and I had my $200- gift cards from Christmas that I have been meaning to spend before all the winter clearance was taken off the racks. Needless to say, it was 6:30 before I got home and didn't have a chance to work on anything.

3)Tuesday night 9pm - wrote some notes for the ms. Worked out the original storyline I had, while encompassing what I had already written. Worked out to 12,000words, not the original 20K I assumed.

3)Wednesday morning 2:30am - awakened out of sound sleep by a nightmare. Laid in bed thinking about the story again until the alarm went off.

Wednesday morning 7:20am - Monster Child accidentally spilled her juice all over my notes and because I had written them on art paper with my fancy gel pen, all the words are now garbled.

Wednesday morning - 10:30am - Must leave to go pick up said child from school as it's early dismissal today. It's also raining, so she will be inside this afternoon, watching movies, thus not allowing me to concentrate.

So what do you think? If you had all this going on right before you decided to make a semi-medium-big overhaul of your ms. would you take this as a sign NOT TO? Or do you think I'm just wacked and running on lack of sleep?

I don't know what to think. What I have so far isn't bad, actually it's pretty good, but I keep remembering what an agent said to me last year about Lady Olivia -- she's too much in the story. And that is exactly what I've done again. Stuck her nose in everybody's business. With her interference it's a will-they won't-they get together proposition. Lots of tension, lots of wondering, how will Violet end up with Haverlane?

However, I like Lady Olivia in everybody's business. She reminds me of a cozy mystery character. You never know what she'll do next. And through her I also get a little mystery, because her behind the scene's scheming does ultimately get Ellis to get off his arse and do the right thing by Violet. (She also has some of the best lines.)

In the original version, Lady Olivia is not really there until the very very very end, and has only two critical sentences to say to Ellis (and for those of you not following the story - Ellis is Haverlane). The original story is far less dramatic, still with tension, sexual and otherwise but not in your face on every page.

So what would you do? Take it as a sign to leave it alone with ALL the melodrama, or go back to the original version?


Laura Pauling said...

I think an agent's opinion is so subjective to base rewrites on - esp. if they don't resonate with you. Now if several people say the same thing you might want to consider. But if you like her that way - then keep her. SEe what your cps think.

Lynn said...

Oh my, you've had a lot going on! Hopefully things settle today. As a reader, I like melodrama but I do need a break from the tension. If properly placed, all the melodrama could be just fine. I'm sure you'll make to right decision!

Linda G. said...

I probably would take it as a sign to at least give it a little more time and consideration before I did anything drastic. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Laura -- Yes, that's what I thought. She was the only one who mentioned Lady Olivia as being too much of a presence. None of the other agents I recieved feedback from said anything about her. And I don't have any cp's right now.

Lynn -- There are standing pages that let you mull over all the facts. However, I don't know if they're enough.

Linda -- I think you may be right, but I just so much want to finish this book. I was almost at the END.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i would sit on it a few more days, then re-read it and see how you feel. I think a small amount of distance always helps

Matthew MacNish said...

It's tough when life gets in the way of writing, but it does happen, and there isn't much that can be done about it.

When it comes to making those changes, I know nothing about romance, but I wouldn't do anything differently unless the advice makes sense, and actually works within your vision for your story.

Jamie Burch said...

Very interesting! Yes, take some time to let everything simmer and come back to it with a fresh mind.

Personally I like knowing things the main characters don't know when reading a book. Lady Olivia sounds intriguing. If she's important to you and the story, I'd keep her.

Good luck with your decision!

Anne Gallagher said...

Sarah -- I think I might have to do that. It's going to be in the high 70's for the rest of the week and the yard needs doing. I always get my best ideas in the yard.

Matt -- See, that's what gets me, I don't know if the advice is sound or not. We'll have to see.

Anne Gallagher said...

Jamie -- Yeah, me too. I like knowing things. That's the thing, Lady Olivia is way cool and I'd hate to lose her. The problem is she can go either way. Thanks.

She Writes said...

You need more sleep!

Anne Gallagher said...

Amy -- You are absolutely right and a nap, I hope is in my immediate future.

Bossy Betty said...

The universe is sending you signs. Heed them!

Domey Malasarn said...

For me, outside experiences often color my reading. I wonder if your hectic schedule simply contributes to the impression that your manuscript is "muddied up". I'd think any story would feel like that if I was trying to read it with so many distractions. Maybe try looking at it again in a calm place and see how you feel.

Stacy McKitrick said...

It does seem like the writing gods are against you right now. Or maybe they're telling you to take a little break.

Like someone told me once: "It's your story." Don't let one person make you change something you're passionate about. Write for YOU. If you like it, someone else will, too.

Francine Howarth said...


Take the plunge, take a break, put the project on hold until such time as you are sure you can settle to a good read through. It's so frustrating when family (we love) make demands upon what would otherwise be writing time.

If Lady Olivia has taken centre stage, then she's little different than Emma (Jane Austen. I dare say if "Emma" had been written 2010 a fair few agents and publishers would have made commment on her "being too much in the story". After all, enough of the former have said Jane Austen novels seriously needed editing!

The thing is, when I read older romance novels I often find them far more enjoyable than modern day in same genre. Most of the modern day novels have been so honed/edited (to death) as to actually have little substance re sense of time and place, rarely any decent sub plots, characters that have walk-on walk-off parts and dialogue so prevalent as to render the novels to little more than chat-books. I'm putting all this obsession with "honing" down to the three-minute attention span:the plague of those who have never actually read a decent literary masterpiece! ;)

Off blog I could reveal some horrific and hilarious tales re some of the e-book/paperback publishers with regards their so-called professional editorial teams.


Yvonne Osborne said...

I don't believe in signs. I only believe in gut. It's annoying when everyday stuff keeps me from my writing, but I try not to let it affect my writing. You'll go with your gut, at the end of the day. Your writer's intuition will prevail.

jbchicoine said...

I'm not much for signs...
...second opinions are good :)

Hannah Kincade said...

I agree with Sarah. Time is always a good thing. It will give you perspective. Also, second opinions and sometimes, third. ;)

KarenG said...

Lady Olivia sounds intriguing to me. As to all this emotional activity-- to me it would signify the need to take a break from the project.

notesfromnadir said...

Sometimes all this stuff happens to keep you away from a project that you need to be working on. You got to go back to it with the right perception tho'. Ask yourself if you like it. Ask yourself if you picked it up in a B&N if you'd want to continue reading it.

Talli Roland said...

Hmmm. I wouldn't so much go with signs. I'd ask yourself what's right for the story. Whose story are you trying to tell - and does the character really need to be there? Is she showing us anything important about the central character? If not - bye bye!

Anne R. Allen said...

You gotta sit alone with nobody but your muse and then go with what you feel. I've rewritten so many times because of one comment or another from an agent and it never works.

I recently had two agents pass on a full. The reasons? 1) Great premise/boring writing. 2) Great writing/boring premise.

So I'm ignoring them both.

Bish Denham said...

Rather than those signs telling you to leave it alone, I think they may be telling you to take a break, to set aside the MS for a while, come back to it in a few weeks (or longer) then reread it straight through with fresh eyes.

Anne Gallagher said...

Betty -- I just wish they would be more definitive, is it stop or yield.

Domey -- I have, but I think because I have two different endings in mind, I need to really just pick one and go with it. That's my dilemma.

Stacey -- I do like it, I'm just not sure which way to go with it. It's just a mess right now.

Francine -- I have to email you my response.

Yvonne -- My guts are what got me in this mess in the first place. I don't trust them anymore.

Bridget -- And you are mine.

Hannah -- Yeah, I've been thinking about a third, and maybe fourth.

Karen -- I know, I really should. Half of it is just the pressure I put on myself to finish it. The other half is I want it to be a really great story that people will remember.

Lisa -- Either way I'd read it. I just want the right ending.

Talli -- Yeah, I know. I could go either way with her. I think she should stay, truthfully. Although I do wonder if she's really all that important.

Anne -- Which is what happened last year with the other book in the series. They loved the premise but hated the writing.

Bish -- I wish I had the time to do that, but I really don't. There are other things I need to do in my personal life and I put them off to finish the book. And I can't start them until the book is finished. Sort of a catch-22.

The Words Crafter said...

I went back and read your previous post and, along with today's, about all I can think of to say is wow!!!

I'm pretty much with everyone else. You need a break, some rest. If you have to cut some stuff, could it be woven in during revisions? Or used for a mystery romance?

I agree about too much tension, it can be exhausting. But if it's good....then maybe it can still be useful.....unlike this wishy washy comment :)

I hope MC is feeling better and you get to sleep peacefully tonight!

Anne Gallagher said...

Becky -- Thanks. I did get some sleep last night. Edward Molina entered my dreams and we were dancing the Pase Doble of all things. And he kissed me, YUM!

MC is better, thank you.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I agree with Laura that one agent's opinion is too subjective to base rewrites. I also believe more in gut-feelings more than signs. Signs seem too random and subject to error. Gut-feelings can be erroneous, too, but for me they have always been more accurate. Maybe try and get some more opinions on the writing?

Len Lambert said...

A lot going on in your world right now, Anne :) I agree with the idea of giving it a little time then come back to it after some time :) All the best to you, Anne!

Angela Ackerman said...

It sounds like a lot is going on. I would probably take a break, wait until everything settles down and then with a clear head, read everything over. It's tough to think clearly when so much is going on around us, and the energy tank is empty.

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Anne Gallagher said...

Michelle -- I did. I finally had two offers from people to read it and one is an historical author so I'm pretty stoked about that. She'll be able to tell me if I hit the mark or bypassed it completely.

Len -- Thanks so much. I do need a break but not quite yet. Soon though, very soon.

Angela -- Sleep. I just need some really good sleep. Thanks for stopping by.

Elaine AM Smith said...

I think the way you are stressing over the signs probably means you are undecided. I'd be furious if I wrecked my work or things got under my feet but it wouldn't make me change my work.
Like with Anne Allen, one or two opinions can't give you much data to work on. Maybe, you need betas to look over the whole wip - not for the writing issues but for general story feedback? Good luck with the writing. x