I’m not talking about those early manuscripts, the practice stories we wrote while learning the craft of writing. Those with the giant plot holes. I’m thinking about the stories we’ve written after being published.
I wrestled with this thought recently. I’d submitted a romantic suspense to my editor. The story had started out as my first contemporary romance, meaning I was writing a love story with no guns, murder, things getting blown up, car chases, and well heck, where’s the fun in that?
Anyway, I got to about 1/3rd of the way in and was wracking my brain for something to add interest to the unfolding story. What I did not realize at that point was if I’d delved deeper into the emotional aspects of my hero and heroine I would have had the required crunchiness the story needed. Instead, along came a sinister guy and he muscled his way in. It was too easy. I didn’t tell him to wait his turn. Oh, no. I allowed him in, and then I went back and foreshadowed. I liked him. Nasty as he was, I was intrigued by him.
Needless to say, I submitted the manuscript, after having written a contemporary that relied on emotion and not shoot-em-ups, and followed that with my current story, another contemporary romance. I was finally getting the hang of what I needed to write for that sub genre. I do remember, as I was about to hit send on the suspense, there was a tiny voice asking me if the book made sense. I added a disclaimer.
A month later, I got an email from my new editor: I’ve just started reading your manuscript. I’m a bit confused about your antagonist. Can you clarify a couple of things? I need to ensure the suspense will be strong enough that the head of the line will see it as a good fit. Convince me.
I wrote back: Ha ha. Seriously, I won’t be heartbroken if you pass on this one. He’s a sociopath, a wealthy man, a stalker, and he has problems with impulse control. Yeah, he’s weird. My romantic suspense books always start out slow, but once they get going they build fast. They aren’t thrillers, and I’d say they’re more of a cross between a mystery and suspense.
I’m seriously quite okay if her decision is to pass on this one. However, maybe once she finishes the read she’ll have ideas on how to redeem the story…we shall see.
Looking back on the writing experience, it wasn’t a wasted effort, because in some strange way it helped me to write a better first contemporary romance.
My editor, the same one I sent the suspense to, said due to the feelings she had while working on CG it stimulated her to book a trip to Italy for next year. Now that’s a compliment!
So, you win some, you lose some. What do you think?
For you multi-published authors out there, have all of your manuscripts been accepted, or do you get offered a contract on an outline? Do your outlines get rejected? If you write in several subgenres of romance do you have trouble switching hats? Talk to me.