May has been a pretty terrible month for me. April too, for that matter. You see, I sent my latest book, A Shift in the Air, off to my new editor, and she…well…she ripped it apart.
Now, let me be clear. She was incredibly supportive and not at all mean about said ripping, but I’m still finding little shredded pieces of manuscript all over the virtual floor. I wrote about the struggle several times in an author’s reality, I did it, Breaking up is hard to do, and Editing: the good, the bad, and the ugly, approached the whole thing with a “suck it up, Buttercup” attitude. I could do this.
So I rewrote the whole book in two weeks. Yep. A whole, 65,000 word book in two weeks.
I did nothing but write, sleep, work, write, sleep, work…I’m pretty sure my husband thrust plates of food at me at regular intervals, but I can’t honestly remember. I sent it off again to my editor.
And again…confetti from the shredded pages landed all over the place. ARGH!
At this point, while I loved my editor dearly, I did start to contemplate a voodoo doll.
I’m now on the third full rewrite, and this one, finally, is getting hearts and flowers and WHY DIDN’T YOU SEND ME WORDS LIKE THESE BEFORE? YOU’VE BEEN HOLDING OUT ON ME! THIS IS WHAT I KNEW YOU WERE CAPABLE OF messages from her at regular intervals. And yes, they’re all in caps.
My friends outside the writing world don’t understand.
Why in the world would I put myself through such a terrible time? Why not just do a line edit and be done with it? A Shift in the Water, the first book in the series, is successful. Wildly so. Fans will probably gobble up the book even if it’s rubbish (and even the first version wasn’t rubbish, it just wasn’t what it needed to be).
Well, because part of being a writer, of trying to make a career out of this craziness, is wanting to constantly improve.
I’ve always struggled with confidence. I think we all do. That struggle drives us to do better, to work harder, and to bust through those blocks and walls and ceilings that keep us down.
That’s what I’ve tried to do this month. I’ve pushed myself harder than ever before. I’ve given up sleep, movies, gardening, and running. I’ve done all of this because I need to be better.
I’m the Six-Million-Dollar-Man. Better, stronger, faster. Okay, not faster.
This last rewrite is taking forever, because I’m building so much lore into this paranormal romance that I can now tell you the origin story of every mythical creature, every single werewolf, and can explain away half of recorded history in supernatural terms. It’s epic. But better nonetheless. This process has shown me just what I’m capable of. And while I can’t say I want to repeat it, I also don’t think I’ll have to. I’ve learned so much. I’m a better outliner. I have detailed character development sheets that give me the hows and whys of each and every character, back to childhood. I know why the hero loves the heroine, and it isn’t just because of physical attraction. I know why the bad guy is a sympathetic antagonist, and what his undoing will be in the end. And I’ve learned how to recognize sticking points in my own story. Hint: If you’re struggling with a scene, it’s probably because your tension is lacking. Or you’re in the wrong character’s head.
I started to write because I loved creating stories. Worlds came alive in my head, characters fought, died, fell in love, and redeemed themselves. But I keep writing because I want to be better. I want to be the kind of writer who inspires others. And I want to know that I’ve done something I never thought possible. I want to push myself beyond my normal limits, fly farther, faster, and higher than ever before.
I can do this. There will be blood, sweat, tears, and possibly that voodoo doll.
There will be cursing and railing and probably sobbing from time to time. When you bleed your words out onto the page, you leave scars behind. But those scars can heal you. They’re a testament to your strength, your dedication, and your love for your craft.
I write for those scars. Because Liam and Caitlin deserve my very best. When A Shift in the Air comes out, I hope they’ll be pleased. I hope I’ve done them justice.
But I also hope when I tell the next story, that perhaps I won’t end up with mountains of shredded manuscript towering over me. My vacuum cleaner just can’t keep up with the mess.
Love shifters? Grab your copy of A Shift in the Water or pre-order A Shift in the Air today!
About author Patricia D. Eddy:
Patricia D. Eddy can’t stop writing. Not that she’s tried. Her characters won’t let her. She fuels her writing with copious amounts of caffeine-she lives in Seattle, after all-and rewards herself with good Scotch and red wine. In between writing, editing, and mentoring other authors, she runs around lakes, reads late into the night, and is terribly addicted to Doctor Who and Sherlock. She has a thing for quirky British men and isn’t ashamed to admit it. Her quirky-but-not-British husband never gives her grief for working long hours or occasionally talking to herself when she has disagreements with her characters, for which she is very thankful. You can find more about Patricia and her books by visiting www.pdeddy.com.