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A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO A REWRITE

March 5, 2015 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , ,

I recently self-published my first book, GENERATIONAL CURSE. However, it isn’t the first book I wrote. That honor belongs to THE ALEX CHRONICLES:WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW. It’s the first book in a series about five best friends. The stories follow the characters as they maneuver and meander their way through a lot of secrets. The tagline asks the simple question: How well do you know your best friends?

I think I was watching Bridget Jones’ Diary or Sex And The City, when I got the idea for the book. I went into this thinking it would be a stand alone and then the characters reminded me I had left a few unanswered questions. I immediately started answering those questions in the second book. However, a new book answered those questions, but it also created a few new ones. On to book three.

Fast forward, a couple of new computers, three crashed hard drives and a healthy relationship with Dropbox and back up drives, I am 30 pages away from completing my first series. NOT.

I went to a conference and an agent requested it, didn’t like it. Another agent liked it and signed me. [I shared this story in an previous post]. While my oldest child was out making the rounds, I gave birth to a surprise baby, GENERATIONAL CURSE. In writing that book, I saw my oldest baby with fresh eyes. While working on GENERATIONAL CURSE, I read a lot [I also judged the BBB which exposed me to some different genres]. The advice that in order to learn how to write, you have to read, is so true. I liked how GENERATIONAL CURSE developed. It has just the right amount of heat and edge to keep the reader engaged. THE ALEX CHRONICLES was missing that.

I got a stack of post-its, a notebook and a few red pens and started performing surgery. When I was done, I liked the characters even better. They were mature with great personalities and better story lines.

Here’s the funny part. I had a cover based on the old manuscript. No matter how much I wanted it to work, it just didn’t now. And because I knew I had the other books complete, except for those last 30+ pages for book three, I bought the covers for them as well. Now none of them fit. Back to the beginning.

I ordered a proof with the manuscript changes, but every time I looked at that cover, it just reiterated I had to make a change. After reading the proof, something else kept gnawing at me…the first seven chapters. I had been fighting with myself about those pages longer than the cover issue. No matter how much I liked the content, I felt it didn’t really tell the story. This was a major realization for me. So, last week, I highlighted the pages and hit delete. It felt like someone had chopped off one of my arms. I stepped back, looked at the book with a revised chapter eight as my new chapter one, did a little tweaking and I like it. It immediately grabs you.

What about the first seven pages? My plan is to add a few thousand words and make a novella. So now my little three book series, will become a four book series. As for the new cover, it has a much more sophisticated feel. I’m saving the Cover Reveal for later.

I’m hoping to release this book by the end of Spring.

Tracy Reed

readtracyreed@me.com
www.readtracyreed.com

Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys

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Do You REALLY Want To Know

February 20, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,

When I’m not writing, or thinking about writing, or begrudgingly cleaning the house, my life is full of dogs. On occasion I’ll judge dogs, and much of the time I’m expected to produce a written critique of the dogs I judged. Some judge’s critiques are works of art, describing the entry in flights of fancy and glowing terms. The better critiques offer a description in succinct terms, referring to
hallmarks of quality in the breed.

On occasion I’ve been asked to evaluate a dog somewhere other than a show, all too often at a gathering of friends where more attention is paid to sampling the host’s wine and beer selection than in depth discussion of dog structure and type. Even when I warn that a request for an honest appraisal will bring that very thing, they insist. Sometimes this can lead to that in depth discussion. Sometimes it heads down an entirely different path. Such as the time a dog of a new breed was paraded in front of me. I turned to the beaming owner and asked if every dog in the breed had a weak rear, since I hadn’t seen a good rear structure yet, including his dog.

He was not amused.

Often when judging writing contests I’ll come across an entry not ready to see the light of day. Since we don’t know the background of the entrant, and we don’t wan to discourage any budding confidence they might have in themselves as writers, any critiques written must be worded carefully. On occasion the story I pointed out as derivative and lacking any semblance of originality ends up published a few months later, with very few changes.

Publishing is a strange endeavor, never moreso than when when we try to make sense of it.

Right  now I have two works in progress on my Kindle, sent from writing friends for a beta read. The friends have on occasion read for me, and have offered an ultimate expression of professional friendship by being brutally honest. Hate or love my work, they pull no punches.

Nor would I give them any less than my full honesty. Sure, I’ll temper it with soft words of praise. There are only so many ways one can say “I gave up before page thirty, I was so bored,” but one can attempt to find the actual best place to start the book. Far better for an earlier reader to reveal these plot weaknesses than for an editor to send the book back with a vague “fix it and we’ll look at it again” rejection.

With both of these writers I know any comments will be taken at face value, with no search for hidden messages. We separate the writer from the writing, which is healthy for all concerned, and something all of us need to remember when asking for or performing critiques. Don’t ask unless you really want to know, and learn to use that feedback to strengthen not only your own work but also your ability to evaluate other writer’s work.

Sharing a special moment.
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