Ever since I got Alpha Female back from my beta reader (who was wonderful and quick and cool about everything), I’ve been taking a bit of a break. There were alot of things missing, due to the wordcount limit of the antho, and while I had a feeling that might be a problem, I thought possibly that I could pull it off. I tried, right? I made my goal of finishing the draft on time. However, I can’t submit it because 1) it’s too long at 27k, and 2) the story would be better served by expanding it vs. cutting 2k and then trying to fill all of the holes AND keep it at 25k.
So here’s my plan. I’m going to expand it to about 40k and submit it to the e-publisher’s regular submissions or another e-publisher altogether. It’s okay — the story is far darker than the antho wanted. Sometimes a story unfolds and as it unfolds, it mutates into something else. Also okay. I had a feelng that was happening, and I didn’t fight it. I trusted my muse on this one. And, after rewriting it 3 times, I wanted to make it work this go around.
Am I happy with this? Actually, I am. I learned alot about my process and got a peek at what it’s like to write to a deadline. Obviously, there was no contract-stipulated deadline so there were no consequences to speak of, but I took it very seriously and buckled down and got it done.
The only real variation in it is that I rewrote it 3 times before finishing the draft, something I rarely ever do. My feeling was I didn’t want to continue to write a story that feels wrong, and then have to turn around and rewrite the entire thing. Possibly several times. It seemed like an exercise in futility. Normally, I’d write straight through. But I had a deadline, so things changed a bit.
So the next thing is to expand/rewrite/edit Alpha Female, addressing the problems that my fantastic beta reader found. And adding a few things I couldn’t fit in this go around. I’m thinking of cutting the death of the main character’s spouse from the entire thing, or make it already happened when the novella starts, as per the original draft. I wanted Natasha to have a reason to be emotionless and distant, and a deceased spouse could do it. But then while writing the ending, I thought, hmmm, what if he died in the fight that injured Natasha? Killed by the same race as the man who wants her as his mate? Brilliant, or so I thought. But I had a wordcount limit, so I couldn’t let it play out the way it should have been. I could put it back in and try to make it work, or cut it altogether. Decisions, decisions.
And then there’s Natasha being a “latent” werewolf — aka she doesn’t — can’t — shift. My beta reader felt it was a convenient plot device, and nothing more. I needed Natasha to have another strong reason to allow Luke to turn her — besides dying, that is. She’s an enemy of his race, and I would think she’d balk at it — even if it saved her life. Stupid? Nah. She’s just very stubborn. So I gave her the latent thing so the idea wouldn’t be so abhorrant. She was already part werewolf, so going that extra mile wouldn’t be so bad. I don’t know. In some ways it works, but then again, my beta might be right.
So that was the idea behind my break, and to rest my brain. I’m still really tired from dragging my cast around. And I suspect a bit burnt out, too. I just need to recharge the batteries, you know? Let it come, but slowly. This weekend, I might take a crack at it. If I feel up to it.
But what about Pirouette? you ask. Well — that’s happening, too. I actually think this “rest period” has given me alot of insights. I have the first scene somewhat figured out and a few other things. I’m almost ready to start the big revision. So it’s Alpha Female next, all the way to submission (my one goal for last year and this year was to submit something to someone) and then Pirouette. Maybe some Pirouette pre-work in between.
And as usual, I got smacked upside the head with the perfect NaNo idea — except I’m not doing NaNo and I can’t do any new stuff right now. But, it’s a doozy, and pretty unique I think. Oh well. It can get into line with the rest.
So…hopefully I’ll have more to report in a few weeks.