Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sex: In or Out?

Remember Newvember” easily slides into the genre of Chick-Lit, with its young protagonist daring to take on the world around her. However, the book does not highlight shopping, shoes or chocolate. In fact, it’s really just a snapshot of one month in the life of Willow Mae Pillbean – an atypical Chick-Lit heroine who journeys through her own life and discovers a self who has more confidence, more strength, and a more adventurous spirit than she realized.

There is a “love” interest in the book, which inevitably leads to a sex scene; probably one of the most difficult scenes in the book I had to write. The words flowed easily enough to the page, but then the question of how much is too much arose.
I wrote two versions of the same scene – the second was simply an extension of the original, with a tiny . . . . er . . . a whole lot more detail. Some readers who had a sneak peak at the entire book said I left them “wanting” with the original version, others said it was just enough.  

In my opinion, a detailed sex scene should be present only if it adds to character and plot development. The detail and length of the scene should be in keeping with the voice, point of view and writing style already in use. Adding a gratuitous sex scene for shock value does not add to the quality of the book. In fact, it just might detract from it.
So, which version of the sex scene will be present in “Remember Newvember” when the e-book is released at the end of May? If it’s written well enough, you’ll never really know, will you?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Manuscript Makeover Madness Month

May is Manuscript Makeover Madness Month. My personal goal is to have Remember Newvember completely edited, formatted and ready for printing by the end of May. Considering I have been hard at work on this novel since November 2009 it should be pretty close to perfection.
Should be . . .
The first round of editing was easy – I simply reworked the rough draft, written in just 30 days, so that it had better continuity with a fully developed story line. There were a few places that needed more back story, character development and of course polishing. The second draft did not pass a ‘fine edits’ inspection, so with the help of a very dedicated friend, I set to work correcting grammar, spelling and inconsistencies. By the summer of 2010, I thought I had a nearly finished copy of Remember Newvember.

So, I sent it off to CreateSpace for a little self-publishing exercise. When my proof copy arrived in the mail, I expected to have a few small errors to correct, perhaps some formatting issues to adjust. I had no idea that the book would require a complete over-haul. You see things in a “published” book you might not see on the screen of your laptop, or in the text of an 8.5 x 11 print-out.
With determination I got out my orange sticky-notes and started my first round of corrections. When I was finished, my sister “borrowed” the book and made her own notes with blue sticky-notes. Following her editing attempt, I handed the book over to my official proof-reader with confidence, knowing she wouldn’t find too many additional mistakes.

Her sticky notes started out pink; when she ran out, she switched to purple. I can probably count on one hand the number of pages that did not require corrections of any sort. Currently, I am diligently plodding through those corrections. As I do, I find more things to adjust: awkward sentences, run-on sentences, over-used words, strange expressions, vague character descriptions. . .
The list seems endless, but I am determined to complete it and publish it so I can focus on completing my next book. Which, of course, means I will be starting the entire process all over again.