There is nothing more validating than having someone call you on the telephone or walk up to you in a grocery store to tell you they liked your book. I don't mean friends and relations, because they have to be complimentary or risk being struck from your Christmas card list -- not that I'd ever do that. I mean people you never heard of before who don't have to go out of their way to mention they've read the book and enjoyed it. Best of all is when they ask, "Are you writing another?"
With that in mind, I'm hard at work on my third novel. And, it is work. Someone told me recently how much they envied my ability to "sit down and let the words flow from my fingers."
I told her the words didn't so much flow as skip, tumble over themselves, and generally refuse to behave in a civilized manner at all. Well, I may not have put it quite that way. I've had a little time to think of a better response that the one I actually gave, which was, "Oh, ha, ha; I wish."
I sent my first few chapters out to my critique group, and the response was, "Why are you waiting so long to introduce the conflict?"
I had fallen into a familiar trap of starting out with introductions and backstory. My wise publisher/editor told me to lose the first chapter in both of my previous books. I did, and had a stronger beginning.
So I knew my writing friends were correct. I had to start the story at the beginning and "hook" the reader before going into the background details. And, since this is more of a romance than the other two, I needed to bring in the hero long before page 38.
So that's what I've been doing: cutting whole pages of description and dialogue and putting them where they belong. It's made me a little crazy, trying to keep track of all the messy little details that get lost in the shuffle.
And, I decided to tell the story from both Marcie's and Adam's point of view. Knowing what Adam thinks and feels will, I trust, make the story stronger. And, in doing this, I have gotten to know him better. He may be a preacher, but he still has an eye for a pretty woman.
I also changed the title to "Wherever You May Be," since the story does revolve around a mysterious disappearance--and reappearance.
I am confident it will come together at some point and everyone will have his or her Happy Ever After and I can relax.
Until some character hiding deep in my mind whispers in my ear, "You need to tell MY story."