Lesson Two…The Rebuild

Sorry this post is a bit late…blogger and I sometimes have “issues” 🙂 and my tennis photos won’t load 😦 BUT onward we go…….

When you haul that book out of your bottom drawer your first thought is, ‘oh I’ll be able to keep most of this, I just have to tweak it a bit, add some more emotions….’ WRONG!

In the one, two, five years since you last looked at it, your writing has changed a LOT. You have learned more than you can imagine and you now write differently. This is a good thing 🙂

You can spend a lot of time trying to get what you have on the page to “fit” what you believe needs to be done but that is a actually the worst thing you can do.

So the art of the bottom drawer rewrite is actually not a rewrite at all but a rebuild.
That means you sometimes have to part wit scenes you really love. I always put those scenes into a file and save them. I will probably never use them but it makes me feel better this way 🙂
As I mentioned the other day I had a favourite tennis discussion scene in the first book when Alex had been the flirty doctor. It had to go because Alex was serious and brooding in this book. BUT I still used the idea of a tennis fundraiser in the new book. I wrote the actual game into the book and it is the prequel to a very romantic scene.

And sometimes your favourite scene has glaring holes in it when you revisit it. This is WHY leaving a rejected book for a year does actually help.
For a bit of nostalgia, (this may or may not be a wise decision) here is the flirty conversation I wrote in 1996 with some 2006 comments about it

IN this version Alex was flirty but not going to commit to anything. However, he really is attracted to Jess and is angling for an affair. He doesn’t know at this point she has a child. They are having afternoon tea at a guesthouse and talk turns to a fundraiser tennis match and Jess asks him to play.

‘I might consider playing if we could be doubles partners. What do you think?’ His eyebrows rose as he delivered the question with a laconic grin. (oops POV break right there)

She met his gaze with a flick of her head, sending her hair flying around her shoulders. ‘What, and have you bossing me around on the court as well as at work?’

‘I’m pretty easy going, Jess, especially if you play the game my way.’ (oh dear he doesn’t sound nice there does he?)

‘What if I don’t want to play your game?’ Her tongue slowly traced the outline of her top lip.

His heart slammed in his chest. ‘Playing games can be a lot of fun. Especially if you know the rules.’

‘And I suppose you would be willing to teach me?’ Her voice sounded husky.

‘I think you already know how to play. You’re just a bit hazy on the strategy.’ He stroked the back of her hand, his fingers moving over her skin with a feather soft touch. Her heat radiated into his fingers, jolting him. Oh god, he longed to have her in his arms.

She sighed. ‘I know about singles, mixed doubles and love.’ Her voice emphasised the last word.

He took her direct look and withdrew his hand. He had three months to offer not a lifetime. And definitely not love. He wanted good times and he wanted to walk away. ‘And you know about game, set and match?’

She nodded, her eyes cast down.

‘Are you certain the umpire has made a decision?’ He could see her emotions playing across her face. Hesitation lingered. He could still convince her. His charm never failed. (reading that line about his charm just made me feel uncomfortable so I wouldn’t use that today) ‘Baseline calls can be made too hastily. Perhaps a tie breaker is called for?’

She gave him a long steady look. ‘I’m not rushing the net for an unpredictable lob.’

‘So, you’re going to stick to the sidelines and play it safe. Give up the opportunity to really enjoy the game for what it offers?’

‘I am.’

Disappointment thudded into him. Hell, his charm had met its match. He had the prize in his sights and she’d aced him.

This time

But one day soon he’d find where she’d buried the sexy, passionate woman with eyes that could melt steel (steel? hmm not sure that is the image I really wanted)and a body of lush curves which wouldf fit perfectly against him.

Hmm, was it too contrived? Half of me still likes it and the other half has reservations. Let me know what you think.

With ‘The Nurse’s Longed-for Family’ one of the critisims was the medical scenes were more theory than ‘hands-on.’ So this time I opened with a major medical drama in the second scene which proved to be the perfect vehicle for Jess to really wonder about Alex. He lurched from in control to frozen. This propelled us into the next scene with Jess determined to find out what was going on and Alex equally determined not to spill his guts. Combine that with an attraction that was hitting them between the eyeballs and we have tension on the page:-)

One of the reasons the medical scenes were not full on in the first attempt was because when I wrote this book in 1996 medicals were not available in the US. I was however living in the US and my critique partners kept saying…”this medical stuff gets in the way of the romance.” I unwisely sanitized it but that is another story the next bloc entry…Voice and working with critique partners..Stay tuned

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