All I want for Christmas is… a final, completed, fully edited draft with no typos, plot holes, or one dimensional characters. Oh! And a great love scene.
I know, I know, Santa can’t work miracles. But I can always ask, can’t I? I’ve been wrestling with the third draft of my latest WIP since it was still warm enough to wear open toed shoes (and I live in Chicago so that means something). My deadline for the final final draft was Labor Day, which stretched into Halloween, and now Christmas is fast approaching and I am still stuck. This draft refuses to end! Are my characters not working? The plot confusing? Or it is a curse from that barista I forgot to tip back in June?
I decided the only way to find out is to go back to basics.
1. Ask your characters what they want. Sounds simple right? I’m always surprised by how quickly my character’s wants can become muddled on the page. Sure my heroine wants the hero, everyone knows that! Except for my heroine. What she really wants is to marry the dashing Viscount who dresses divinely, writes her poetry, and has only recently become engaged to another woman.
2. Outline your plot. I am the last person to take this advice. I like to keep the writing process as messy and creative as possible until the very end. It’s a strong signal that I’m nearing the end though when I just can’t seem to move forward because my plot (or lack of) is slowing me down. At some point in the process you have to make sure A leads to B, C, and D. For some writers that means creating a beautiful outline complete with color coding and charts. For others it means jotting your storyline down on a napkin. Do whatever works for you, but if you find yourself stuck in a draft, try outlining the plot.
3. It’s time for a reader! And I’m not talking about your mom. 9 times out of 10 when I can’t move forward with a draft it’s because I’ve become too close to it. I need a fresh pair of eyes, someone I trust to understand my vision for the story but not mince words when it comes to critique. If you belong to a writing group try asking for readers, or even find a trusted friend. Sometimes entering your first chapter in a contest is a great way to get some feedback.
“The French Blue diamond must be destroyed.” Haunted by the words of her dying father, Lady Madeline Sinclair arrives for the London Season with more than parties and the latest fashion on her mind. She has sworn a vow, and the beautifully headstrong and fearless Madeline will allow nothing to distract her…until she meets the infamous Lord Colin, Duke of Douglas, a man known for his scandalous past engagement. With a dark grin and stormy eyes, he threatens to make her forget her duty, along with her manners.
Bound together by the mysterious diamond, Madeline and Colin soon succumb to the passion raging between them, even as the diamond eludes their grasp. But the true threat lies in the hands of an enemy whose dangerous obsession with the past has the power to destroy them both.
Available at The Wild Rose Press.