Tuesday, June 28, 2011

When a Line Edit Isn't

All writers have their quirks. Here's mine: a novel never feels finished.

I'm one of those writers who sculpts a scene over many weeks, adding texture, paring superfluous language, deepening character or reshaping dialogue. I've learned the lesson of patience: write it, set it aside. Wait a day or two or ten before starting the first of many edits.

This tendency would slow me down with any novel but now that I'm deep into the edit of Second Chance Grill, the next book in the Liberty series, I can't help but think, "There are scenes missing from this baby."

The first book in the series, Treasure Me, has received so many complimentary reviews that I'm understandably nervous about releasing the second book until it's flawless. Which is why I must write those missing scenes, dang it. Gun-toting Theodora and skillet-wielding Finney deserve nothing less. The romance between Liberty's saintly yet sexy single dad, Anthony, and the new doctor in town, Mary Chance, has some very amusing scenes. I want to make those scenes perfect.

So now I'm wondering if I should take more time to work on SCG and release another novel instead. The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge is finished (yes, even by my standards) but it's dramatic women's fiction. Not comedy. And it isn't a book in the Liberty series.

Will I confuse readers if Tree appears next on Amazon? Especially since I've been promising Second Chance Grill? Yikes. I have no idea.


  1. Well for me writing a piece then sharing it with the world does feel terrifying in some ways, so understandably you want it to be perfect AND finished. There is nothing wrong with polishing and shining before you release Second Chance Grill into the wild! : )

  2. Thanks, Molli. My biggest worry is that if I release The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge in a few weeks, readers, who expect the next installment of the Liberty series, will be baffled.

    Btw, how are you doing on the WIP? Making progress?

  3. Well, I don't think your readers are stupid :) As long as you make it clear that it's not in the series, and a distinct book cover will help with that, no worries.

    You could even advertise that there is a sneak peek of the first chapter or two of Second Chance Grill in the back. That will really help readers understand it's a different novel.

  4. Elizabeth, that's a marvelous idea. Release TOEK with chpt 1 of SCG in back. Love it!

  5. I don't think it would be an issue for you to release something in the meantime while you finish working on SCG. It may help to open you up to more readers who will then read SCG when it finally comes out!

  6. Hi, Meg! With luck, you're correct.

    The worry? The entire Liberty, Ohio series is lighter women's fiction with mystery, comedy and romance. The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge is closer to literary, with darker elements.

    Facets of the plot are drawn from my experiences as an adoptive mother, and the work that must be done to heal children who have experienced abuse and neglect. The novel is both mystery and double love story: the heroine, a reluctant foster mom, quickly falls in love with the two children placed in her care. She also falls in love with the powerful man who will help her save the children from a past destined to destroy them.

    Definitely the type of read that'll keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!

  7. The plot sounds great. I was actually wondering when I read Treasure me, that u should write something on ur adoption experience, n here u r, already with a novel, great going! But, I beg to differ, the chapters of SCG at the back, might actually confuse readers. I dunno how the tagging works on amazon, but can't u put it as, "stand-alone novel" in description or tags or somewhere in novel intro???

  8. Hi, Komal! Good question--I need to do more research on Amazon tags. Actually, I need to stop packing the house for the move to South Carolina and get to work on releasing my novels on Barnes & Noble and other outlets.

    As far as chapters from the Liberty, Ohio series in the back of the stand-alone novel, yes, that might confuse readers. I'll have to ponder that.

  9. That new book sounds more clutch than the Steelers beating the Ravens in crunch time :) Can't wait to read it. Hopefully it will be have themes of hope, love and redemption.

  10. Thanks, Josh. As for themes, hope, love and redemption always figure into my novels!

  11. Hi, Christine,

    I agree with Elizabeth and Meg. Letting your readers know you have written something extra for them while you're finishing up the second book in your Liberty, Ohio, series should feel more like a happy gift. And if you've already gotten the word out about Tree, it would be sad to delay its publication for everyone who's excited about its release. If someone really loves a book, I think they'll be delighted whether it's one or two years that have gone by since the previous title came out.

    I'm so glad you stopped by Nas Dean's blog. You had me hooked from the moment I read "mysteries drawn from U.S. history." I'm glad to be a new follower!


  12. Many thanks for your comments, Michelle. I will go ahead and release The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge in early autumn after my move to Charleston.

    Here's wishing you all the best with your YA novels.