Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Why It's Important to Let Your Story Stew

I have been working on a story since July. I fast-wrote it in ten days and then set it aside and worked on two more fast-writes. I then fleshed out one of those stories (seven revisions later) that ultimately turned into Bad Mom Rents a Man: Glampfest! That came out September 2014. 

Then, I went back to this one, which is His Favorite Distraction. So this first page is what I fast-wrote and briefly revised back in July:


Old First Page:


It was nearly October, still two months until Santa made a visit to the good boys and girls of Pembroke Village.

Matt Stone was not one of those good boys. For one, he wasn't a boy. He was forty-one, an age that he wasn't comfortable admitting to, much less being. His mind still had him in this thirties, in peak form, no injuries to wait out.

He also didn't think "good" fit him. Conscientious. Charming. Those were adequate words for him. But "good" itself? That was for Sunday school teachers and doctors fixing hare lips for free. Or for Sunshine Smith, the older woman who used to live next door, a sweet woman with no kids and no grandkids, but had made a family out of the entire street.

Hell, out of the entire town.


Okay, I admit it. It's a pretty decent start. But here were the problems after I let the story "stew":

1) It was from my hero's perspective. It's always a good rule of thumb to start the story in the perspective of your main character. And because this is a romance, the genre usually begs for the heroine to be the first POV. (Minus the New Adult and Erotica that is out there. But this story ain't one of those.)

2) There's a lot of setting here. Of characterization. If this was literary fiction, that would be okay. But this is genre. There needs to be ACTION.

I started my revisions the end of September, took October off, and this December 13, His Favorite Distraction will be released. Here's the new first page:


New First Page:


And the reason was sitting right across from her, looking like a perfectly normal professor in his tweed jacket, jeans, and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses.

A little too normal looking. Trying-too-hard normal looking.

“What you must know, Annaliese, is that I sat there, barely breathing, waiting for the beast to come into the crosshairs. The rain was in my eyes, even in my damn nose. But I sat there and took it. It was damn painful, but I shook it off.”

She was bored by him and this conversation. Her mind was on the weekend. Getting keys to her new house and holing up at the house for three whole days to find out what the hell was wrong with Penn.


Let's see if I fixed the issues:

1) Is it from the heroine's perspective? Check!
2) Is it action-driven while also telling about character? Check!
3) Are you wondering about this guy and Penn? Check, check!

My job here is done.


Sydney Strand is a writer and mom who has published two books through New York and another five via self-publishing. She writes funny little romances, but not of the Red Room of Pain variety. More like the Dan and Roseanne Connor variety--humor is sexy, dontcha know. You can follow Sydney on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and/or you can sign up for her All Things Awesome Newsletter.

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