For those who haven’t read my books, each book in the series features a different set of main characters as the romantic leads while continuing the overarching themes from the series itself. I am currently in the middle of the fourth and final book of the Svatura series – Black Orchid. And boy has this one been giving me heartburn. The good news, is I think I finally figured out the issue!
In the middle of writing each book, I’ve realized mid-way through that I didn’t care for the direction I was headed. I would stop and do a rewrite. For example, in Crimson Dahlia, I focused much more on Lila and Ramsey and their individual development as well as their romantic connection. I liked the book sooooo much better after my rewrite, and I’ve had positive feedback on it so far. Conclusion… taking the time to go back and rewrite is well worth it when you feel a book is not quite right.
So when I hit 100 pages on Black Orchid and had the same feeling, well… you know where I’m going with this. Rewrite time. (Said in a sing-songy voice.)
The problem is figuring out what it is that’s not feeling right. Believe me, I’d love to write it perfect out the gate. Wouldn’t that be awesome? I’d rather not have to go back and redo – it takes time. With Dahlia, the issue was my character development. So with Black Orchid, that’s what I looked at first. And yes, I did determine that I needed to make both characters a little stronger. Not surprising when, for the last three books I’ve written them as supporting characters. So I did a minor rewrite and strengthened them in each scene. I even gave Nate a different motivation for his actions.
But after the two weeks it took to do that re-write, I was still not satisfied. And then, FINALLY, just last week it hit me. It was taking me waaayyyyy to long to get my main characters together. I usually have them interacting within the first 30 pages (at most). With Blue Violet, Ellie met Alex by page 13. But with Black Orchid, I had about 85 pages before they started interacting.
Granted, I needed to set up some of what gets them interacting again. I left Crimson Dahlia with Nate thinking someone else was his te’sorthene and leaving Adelaide heartbroken. How the heck do you fix that?!?! (Don’t worry – I totally have a plan.) But once I figured out my issue… yup… you guessed it… it was time for REWRITE #2!
I chopped a whole lot of the stuff I had at beginning and am incorporating it as either commentary or in flashbacks later on in the story. Already I’m much, much happier with how this is flowing. I’m already 55 pages in and it’s only been 2 days. It took me from August to November to write my original first 100 page, so clearly I’m in a much better place.
These several rewrites have also all put me behind. I announced recently that I’ve pushed the release out to May rather than February. Given that this is the last book, I’m determined to make sure I end the series with a bang and wrap it all up satisfactorily. (Or maybe a little obsessive about ending things right.)
I hope my readers will feel the wait was worth it when they finally read Black Orchid! I, at least, feel like I’ll be putting out the best book I can, rather than ignoring my gut feeling that it wasn’t quite right in the interest of staying on schedule. Wish me luck on wrapping up the rest!!