Cover Designs

I’ve hired a new cover designer and am thrilled with the concepts she’s sent over. Monica Younger is professional and takes her time to get to know the setting, theme, characters, and plot to give her ideas for the covers.

Matter of fact, I’m so enthusiastic now, that I’ve asked her to consider redoing all the book covers with a theme in mind. We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, here is the first draft of the cover I’ve chosen.

SUNSHINE ON MY SHOULDERS5

Despair And Why We Love Editors

A couple days ago book four went blithely sailing off to the editor. After revising, it was pretty dang good.

Yesterday, listening to beta readers catching a few typos, the certainty hit that I’d made a huge mistake. Sent it off to the editor way too soon. This was followed by the typical ‘should’ list that follows self-doubt.

Should have read it one more time. Should have spent a few more months, or maybe years, revising. Should just give up. Should have stayed in bed.

Today, the first chapter came back from the editor. With lots of little green comments. Let’s repeat that, shall we? LOTS of little green comments.

Worry and self-doubt was instantly replaced with that common ailment of all writers in the process of editing: despair.

I knew I should have quit writing when I was ten years old!

Of course, I’ve been through this process often enough now to know that being at the bottom of this dank, dark, writer’s pit is only temporary.

Tomorrow I’ll be excited to start work. Because in all seriousness, the little green comments are spot on.

Right at the moment though, I’m going to writhe around in self-pity thinking about what a horrible writer I am, for just a bit longer. It’s an excuse to sit in the hot tub.

Okay, that’s over with.

Because the story is going to be much stronger in a few days.

I swear though, if the husband points out one more typo, I may just take away his scotch. This was last night’s conversation as I was falling asleep:

Him: ‘You do know the women’s state prison in Idaho is in Pocatello, right? Not Wallace?’

Me: ‘Of course.’

Him: ‘You know that’s a seven hour drive, right? She can’t just hop in the car after work and make it there before the end of visiting hours.’

Me: ‘That’s why they call it fiction! If I want to move the whole prison to Wallace I will!’

And I did. The whole prison. Just picked it up and took it with me.

Hope the editor doesn’t catch that…

Goals, Motivations, and Action

I’m using Janice Hardy’s wonderful Editorial Map for revising the first draft of book four, found in her equally wonderful book Revising Your Novel. But I got hung up on a few things.

The map asks specific questions for each scene or chapter. By answering, you see where you’ve gone astray. After mapping out the whole draft, you have a snapshot of where the story needs work.

One question has you list out the goals and motivations for each scene, and one question asks what the point of view character is doing in the scene.

How are they different? Isn’t what the character does, her goal?

So I did what I always do when I have a writing question. Went out to dinner with my friend, author and editor Susan Schreyer. (It’s our excuse to eat out.)

What I realized while talking to her is that the ‘goal’ question relates to the over-reaching goals and motivation. The internal goal, so to speak, which ties to the theme or premise. What the character is doing relates more to the physical, immediate goals and motivations attached to a specific scene.

Of course I knew that.

Right, Susan?

I then talked to Susan about a couple of scenes I found that didn’t have any goal or motivation, whether out there in the ozone or right in the character’s lap. I knew the scene had a purpose but it wasn’t quite fleshed out enough to make that purpose clear.

Susan, of course, had a great suggestion. She said to go back to the previous scene and see what the decision was. This doesn’t mean a physical decision made by the character like deciding to get tea instead of coffee. It means the conclusion of the scene.

Not to confuse that conclusion with the ‘sequel’ which should follow each scene. In other words, the scene is me finding an earwig in my hair, and the sequel is lots of yelling and thrashing about. You can’t have a scene without a sequel. Think ‘action/reaction’. The decision is what the character does after the sequel. Like washing hair for three hours.

That decision should always tie to the next scene. The decision causes the next step in the plot or the character arc to happen.

And in the scenes I struggled with, I realized they didn’t tie to the previous scene or decision. They were just kind of hanging out there on their own. No place in the story arc.

It’s going to be a fairly simple thing to revise them to find their place in the story. Right at the moment, I love this revision process. We’ll see if I feel the same later.

And I already knew that about scene/sequel/decision.

Right, Susan?

Dahlia_concours_international_2012_Parc_Floral_3

Dahlias (aka earwig flowers) from By Dinkum – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21343403