I've gotten the feedback from all of my wonderful beta readers and have spent some time letting their comments and ideas marinate for a while. Now I'm beginning to tackle the revision, starting with a complete read-through of my manuscript on my Kindle (so that I can't edit). At this stage I'm just taking notes about things that I want to work on for the next draft. As one might imagine, there are things that are better than I remembered and others that are not so good. Just goes to show what a month away from it will do for the perspective.
I have to say, though, the sex scenes are pretty steamy (if I do say so myself). ;) And I'm still totally in love with the character Vittoria, which I hadn't expected at all when I started writing this book. I'm excited/nervous to see how I feel about the book's climax. I remember thinking it might be brilliant when I initially wrote it, which makes me fear that it might stink. We shall see.
Awakening 3 word count: 42,735 (goal: 40,000)
Nick + Serran
I have reached almost 20K with Nick + Serran! That's, like, a third of the way there! Very exciting.
Of course, not so exciting when I think about the fact that it took me a month to get to that point and I've only scheduled another couple of weeks to work on it, but I'm sure it'll work itself out. Somehow. I *do* have bunches of handwritten notes and bits of scenes that I haven't yet typed up, so maybe I will magically get another 10K or so from that. I can dream, can't I?
The main thing that's been tripping me up lately is that there are, like, three versions of Nick. There's the relatively silent but confident version who stares at Serran with an expression on his face she doesn't understand and who has a hard time expressing himself verbally even though in actions he is quite forward; there's the self-aware, articulate version who sometimes experiences self-doubt; and then there's the angry version, who's still a little hung up on why his marriage ended four years ago. I don't really know how to reconcile all these versions into one person who makes sense. Especially the first two. How can Nick be both articulate and have a hard time expressing himself verbally? This is what I have to figure out.
But enough of that. How about an excerpt? (Note: This excerpt is from the first draft and may be changed or deleted in the final draft.)
“What about Mark?” Jean said. She sounded bristly.
Serran paused. “What about him?”
“Don’t you think you should tell him what happened?”
“Jean, we only went on two dates. I’m not even sure he’s into me. I know he’s your friend and you don’t want to see him hurt, but I really don’t think we have enough of a relationship at this point to even warrant a conversation. If he wants to go out again after I get back, then I might say something, but as it stands—“
“What’s going on? Why are you so mad?”
“I just thought you were better than this is all.”
Serran felt like she’d been slapped in the face.Nick + Serran word count: 19,241 (goal: 60,000)
The Pirate Queen
This is still in the early early stages, where it's more about research and character development than anything else. I had a good chat with my uncle the other day about pirate ships from the early 1700s (he's a boatbuilder) and sailing terms. In addition, he gave me one of the Horatio Hornblower books by C. S. Forester to read. It's just TEEMING with sailoring terms and a picture of daily life aboard a ship. I think it'll be really helpful.
The other aspect about which I've set my mind a-wondering is what Captain Quin's motivation for pirating is. She's not the blood-thirsty type, and she's not in it for the jewelry or booze. I already knew that one of the big draws for her is freedom from the constraints of society. As a pirate she doesn't have to wear corsets or get married and keep a house. Pirates were also largely democratic - they voted for their captains and missions - and I think that sets the stage for at least the possibility of greater equality among genders. And even if not - hey, I'm writing a romance novel. It's supposed to be fantasy!
Anyway, there's greater freedom as a woman, but I also think there might be a moral angle to this whole pirating thing. I mean, basically what pirates were doing was stealing goods from British, Spanish, Dutch and French ships that were loaded either with things they'd stolen from the natives of the Americas (silver, gold, jewelry, etc.) or things grown with slave labor (like sugar). But it's not like Quin and crew are out there saving slaves (no profit in that), nor do they return the goods back to the natives. So I need to figure out how she thinks about all this and why. Does it have something to do with her childhood in China?
The Pirate Queen word count: 1,407 (goal: 80,000)