Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Road Not Taken

I recently took a workshop on writing. After all these years of writing and being a published author, you'd think I'd have seen and done it all, but that's not the case. Everyone needs to work every day on improving their craft, and I'm no exception. I wanted to up my game, and being forced into seclusion with my bum hip gave me a perfect opportunity to mire myself in this course.

So what was the outcome? I began to look at my work in a totally different way. My process is to write a quick first draft, then go back over it time and again, searching for overused words, jumps in the timeline, inconsistencies, equal representation of the senses, etc. Each pass brings me closer to a finished product, but it's time-consuming. Now, with this workshop, I have even more to look for. I need to find power words and try to position them appropriately. So, I'm now looking at every sentence, every paragraph, every chapter hook. It's tedious, but in the end, I think it'll be worth it.

My first project using my newly-minted technique is for the upcoming book 8 in the Cotillion Ball Series. This one's about Pepper, who is a totally different heroine from my usual young, feisty women. She's been married, has 3 children, and her husband was killed during the first battle of the Civil War, so she's learning how to live on her own. And how to find love again. I'll be the first to admit this book took a lot of work–not just the research about the Civil War battles that took place in 1862 and 1863, but what it was like to be a single parent raising three young boys. I had to interview some mothers who were in similar situations in order to understand the tremendous inner strength involved.  I'm happy to say A Widow's Salvation is now finished, except for one final read-through, and I'm on to the next.

Which is what, you might ask? I have a contemporary story finished, and am in search of a good agent to market it for me. But, since it's been over a year since I wrote and rewrote the story, I think it's a good project for me to look over with my new set of workshop eyes. Give the manuscript a new life, take it down a different path. I've always been adventurous and the road not yet taken seems like the right one for me at this stage of my career.

I'll let you know how it works out.


  1. Nice post, Becky. Yes, it seems the more we write, the more we learn, and back to the more we re-write. It's much like any other physical exercise, we always have to work out and strengthen ourselves or we get 'flabby prose'. Like the photo of the two paths you used

  2. Love the term 'flabby prose'. Quite fitting. Thanks for visiting, RyanJo.

  3. Love resurrections! Best of luck with your contemporary romance :)

  4. Thanks, Joanne. I can see a difference in my writing as a result of the workshop, and I hope everyone else does, too.