This is a guest post by Katy Eeten, author of Blast From Her Past, a Christian romance. It’s a fantastic read!
Five Things I’ve Learned About Writing
Thank you for letting me be a guest on your blog! Today I’d like to share five things I learned after signing a contract with my publisher, Anaiah Press. It’s been a mostly encouraging, sometimes draining, always educational experience and I’m thankful for the opportunity to publish my Christian romance, Blast From Her Past. So … here are those Five Things:
- Get out of Their Head – Much of my first draft for Blast from Her Past revolved around my main characters’ thought life. (Sydney thinking back on her life while taking a bath; Grant reflecting on his career while staring in the mirror; dwelling on their days while getting ready for bed). My editor helped me realize that people’s thoughts, in and of themselves, aren’t that exciting. Instead, I tried to reveal those thoughts through flashbacks, memories or dialogue with other characters, and intersperse key thoughts amidst more interesting activities.
- Adverbs – I was challenged throughout the editing process to remove an abundance of adverbs, which can start to sound trite and corny when overused, and replace with more descriptive actions. For example, instead of saying “She looked at him sadly,” it could read “He could see the sorrow in her eyes from across the room.” The latter is more descriptive and catchy.
- Outside Interests – As I reviewed my manuscript, it seemed my characters had no life outside of work and each other. I was initially so focused on the scenes and actions that directly impacted their relationship, I failed to make their everyday lives more realistic. Did they have friends? Hobbies? I ended up adding several minor characters to round out their social lives and make them not only more realistic, but also, I hope, more likable and relatable.
- Repetition – My first draft made it very clear how much Sydney disliked high school and was skeptical toward Grant. I repeated these things over and over again, thinking that saying the sentiments with slightly different words, or in different settings, added to the storyline. But in reality, I was drenching the reader with repetitive, unnecessary information. It’s a delicate balance, but sometimes, less is more.
- Adaptability – I didn’t realize how much my manuscript would change after I submitted it for publication. I went back and forth with my editor numerous times, often writing or editing large chunks of content. The core storyline and characters remained the same, but many details changed quite a bit. The whole process took a lot more time than I imagined. I’d thought my job was largely done when I signed my contract, but it really had just begun. Fun fact: I submitted my manuscript at 57,000 words and it ended up being over 70,000 words!
Check out Blast From Her Past for yourself and see if you can identify where the above elements did or didn’t work. Thanks for reading!