After completing her nursing training, Mary met her husband in Bible College 50 years ago. They have ministered in churches in Australia, two years in England and now enjoy living in Tasmania. Her first inspirational romance was published nearly twenty years ago and she is now the author of 19 titles. Ray contributes to the ICFW blog devotions on Fridays and has five devotional books published.
Web and blog: http://www.mary-hawkins.com
So, here I am: rewriting, editing, re-writing, editing, re-wr...
Get the picture?
This current manuscript is progressing far too slowly. Okay, so I did start it several years okay then became busy writing Book Two and Book Three of my Baragula series after Return to Baragula, my first book over 57,000 words, was at last contracted. It didn’t take me long to realise I’d forgotten too much about for Her Outback Cowboy (working title). I had to go right back to characterisation and plot. Somehow, until recently I have to confess I’d even lost the passion for this story.
I’d previously written the prologue and several chapters – and edited and edited them of course! Like most writers, while writing those other longer manuscripts I’ve continued to learn more about various aspects of writing them. This means I now read the manuscript with fresh writer eyes.
Did I need the prologue? It was really too long. Did it intrigue the reader enough to make them care what happens to the hero and heroine and want to keep reading? It was important information to show motivations for both of them, but could I somehow weave it through the book without slowing the pace too much with big chunks of back-story?
In the end I re-wrote over 50,000 words without the prologue. It didn’t work – or I’m not a clever enough writer. Now it has been – yeah, you guessed it! – re-written and is now Chapter One. Thanks to a writer friend’s comments who kindly read the first few chapters despite her own deadline, it now has part of it in the hero’s point of view to SHOW his motivations to help the reader know he is really a nice guy, a lovable one she can love despite the way he treats the then sixteen year old heroine. Thank you SO much, Narelle Atkins!
During this whole process, without really comprehending it happened, my perfectionist nature kicked in viciously. There were outback details for the area I had set it in I wasn’t sure were correct ... er... perfect in fact! Searching the internet helped, but I needed personal info from people who had actually been there. Only a couple of days ago discovered I needed to know if State electricity could be connected in that setting or would there have to be solar panels, generators etc, etc. The latest research is to find out if the remote cattle station could have internet.
I thank God for contact with other writers who know the area and have helped with accurate information, but the whole process has made me more determined the next book will be set in places I know very well myself!
And so the many months have dragged on. Recently I had to admit there have been too many times I’ve had to force myself to keep writing it. It was far too easy to put off opening that manuscript. There were other writers to mentor, writing workshops to present and of course writing blog posts, checking out Facebook, reading and a multitude of other reasons not to open the file again and keep plodding along.
Part of this whole process I am blaming on my perfectionist nature that I discovered years ago often needs balancing with “getting the job done”. I’ve also discovered it is possible to over edit a manuscript. If it becomes boring for the writer, it can become even more boring for the reader.
Noticed I have cut back on writing as many posts on my own blog? I try to remember to set a kitchen timer when on Facebook. (Too many times I forget to!) I’ve had to tell other writers if they would like me to read their manuscripts they may have to wait ages.
There are times being a “perfectionist” is a real blessing to “get it right” but other times it can be a real curse. I’d love to hear what other writers and readers think about this.
Oh, and I better mention I do now have the passion back to tell the story of two people separated as teenagers. How can their young love be renewed or have they moved on with too many other priorities in their adult lives?