By: Abigail Sharpe
The winners have been selected and will be listed here pending notification.
Do you want to be a romance novelist? Too scared? Afraid what you write is going to be craptastic?
That was me. Have you read Nora Roberts? Diana Gabaldon? Jill Shalvis? Their stuff is incredible. I thought it just flowed from their minds and out their fingers that way. (And it might. But if it does, I really don't want to know.) Until I started writing, and I realized that first drafts were invented for a reason.
But then you come to the other side of writing - editing. When you have to Kill. Your. Darlings.
No! you gasp. I can’t! There’s a reason I don’t write romantic suspense – having to kill ANYTHING is beyond my abilities. I'm certainly not deleting the words I spent hours creating and rewriting and constructing with the perfect cadence! Not the paragraph, the page, the chapter that is poetry to read. Not the stock character, like the cute toddler or warm and beloved grandfather that is the heroine’s (really cheesy but I thought it worked, until I realized it didn’t) reason for doing what her mother said. So what if it doesn't add anything new to the story? I WROTE IT. IT MUST BE SAVED.
The second half of chapter 1 in Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy? was poor little rich girl having to deal with a society she doesn't want. We meet her presumptive fiancé. We see her parents again. She sighs and stares into the night. I had a good line in there about her wanting to strangle Edward with the mauve napkin. It even finaled in a couple of contests with that scene. But it did nothing - NOTHING - to advance the plot.
So it had to go.
Once I accepted that, I highlighted the chapter and clicked delete on my keyboard. There was no putting it in a file for possible future use. There was no backing it up just in case. There was nothing but me blowing out a quick breath and closing my eyes (I don't look at the keyboard when I type) and pressing that little button.
After the first time, it became easier. Half-written scenes that went nowhere in my first draft? GONE. Paragraphs of beautifully-written introspective prose? KAPUT. Pages of mind-numbing drivel? Yeah, those weren't a problem to delete. At all.
Gone also were Cowboy Riley’s mother and nephew, the heroine Ainsley’s grandfather and her best friend’s daughter, and probably a slew of other characters I don’t even remember anymore. Good bye, darlings. You’ve been killed.
Oh, but I did give Ainsley a sister. She was fun.
You know what happened after all those Darlings went away? Golden Heart final. Signing with Agent. Selling the book.
Grand Central (my publisher) is giving away a couple of e-copies of Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy? to two lucky commenters in the US. In the back of the book is a sneak peek at Who Wants to Marry a Doctor?, scheduled for release in April. Guess what made me write about killing my darlings in this guest post. Comment with your answer and we'll see. Or tell me about a time when you wished an author (or yourself) had killed her darlings instead of letting them languish in her novel.
About the author:
Abigail is a Boston-bred Yankee now eating grits and saying "y'all" in North Central Florida. She dreamed more of being a stage actress or joining the CIA than being an author. While she still enjoys participating in community theater productions and singing karaoke, the secret-agent career was replaced by hours at her computer, writing stories of love and laughter and happily ever after.
Abigail lives with her husband, two kids, and one crazy princess puppy. You can keep up with her on Goodreads or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/AbigailSharpeBooks or on her website - www.abigailsharpe.com.
Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Sep. 28th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. This giveaway is for US residents only. Winners will need to be on NetGalley, or be willing to sign-up for an account. (It’s free!)