Wednesday, 16 April 2008


Hi gang - apologies again (same old refrain huh?!) Its been busy here - I'm still skulking round the cave on this latest one and the kids have been full on (ha! When aren't they?!)

ANYWAY, Rachel asked: ' I was wondering, how much exactly do you layer and add in your rewrites...' - short answer = a lot.
Not so much plot (altho a few scenes sometimes come, sometimes go, sometimes come back in another place etc) but basically its adding depth/layers to the story, esp emotional layers.
These days I finish the rough draft of a 50k word novel at 40k because I know I'll add at LEAST 10k in the edits. Then, during editor revisions, I average about a 10k DELETE as well (I'm ruthless about deleting at this point). Then I rewrite and invariably end up with slightly more than before. So I go through three main phases with each book => draft/edits/revisions.
Hopefully the book grows richer with each stage.
Basically, the rough draft is fun - I just chuck it all on the page, I've got them bantering, its fun, its sassy, its fast and furious - and then that becomes the problem. Its too much fun! Too light - where's the root of the problem?? It needs more emotional intensity.
I have to go back and ask what are these characters really feeling? WHY are they acting this way? What's going on in their heads and hearts when they're saying these things??
Every time I go over it I have to dig deeper and deeper. And then I have to up the pain - esp when my ed gives me a poke with a cattle prod - this is where it gets hard because by now I really know these characters and I really care about them and what hurts them, hurts me and this is the point where tissues by the keyboard are a necessity. This seems to be getting worse with each book btw!!! I"m not sure if its because the books are getting 'heavier' or because I'm getting softer - maybe a bit of both. But I do think (humour me here) that romance authors put a large emotional investment into the books they write - its HARD - you're pouring real feelings, real pain onto the page.
The relief of getting to the HEA is immense - but that too, has to be right and has to (for me) include total resolution - but once you're there?
Well then you just want to curl up and sleep for a long time ;)
Editing/Revisions are essential I think and yes, don't be afraid of the delete key (altho be sure to keep the original in another file). I'm sure your book will be fabulous Rachel - put it to the side for a bit and then re-read with fresh 'editor' eyes - you'll be amazed at what you find, what else you understand about your characters that made them do X back in chapter three - and now you have to go back and thread stuff in all the way. And remember to dig deep, deep, deep into that emotional core.
Hope that helps a little!!!

Meanwhile, apologies (again) and in advance - I have a few things up this week - one of the wee ones is in for a (minor) operation (that feels kinda major) and the school holidays are about to start - so I might be out of action for a while again. BUT if you have any more 'craft' kinda questions, please send them in because they're fun!
Lastly, Mistress Under Contract has sold out on the Oz Harlequin/M&B site but panic not, its on the shelves in Oz/NZ for another couple of weeks and of course you can always get it from Amazon!

Best wishes for now,


Rachael Blair said...

Thanks Natalie - that was SOOOOOOOOO incredibly helpful. I'm hopefully gonn finish the first draft of my current mss then go back to edit the last one, so this stull will undoubtely be GOLD!!

Sorry to hear about your kidlet's op... with littlie's these things are never nice no matter how minor. Hugs all round!!

Natalie Anderson said...

Glad it was helpful Rachael - and when i think on it those figures are on the conservative side!! I end up rewriting lots in the process - but all for the better i hope!!!
Hope your draft is going well!