There's also the bright side of a glowing review when a reader "gets" what you were trying to do and the encouragement of your fellow authors and editors (Heartwarming authors, editors, and readers rock, by the way). But nothing compares to the sentence I heard from my editor a week before RWA National about my book that's due on September 15th. A sentence I know so many authors have heard over the years:
"We're going to need you to change the plot."
Don't get me wrong. She said it in a very nice tone with that underlying "I know what I'm asking you to do". I'd heard of things like this happening. I just didn't expect it to happen to me so soon! The conversation went on (I think--I don't really remember, LOL) and we made plans to discuss possible changes when we met in NYC. It won't be a big deal, she assured me. We'll make it work. Of course as I went back later that day to work on a different project (I'm writing 3 at the same time), there wasn't any concentrating or focus to be found. I'd have to ditch about 100 pages (of a 270 page book) and figure out some other plot that could encompass the town and characters and potential growth of the series. Figure out the conflict, rearrange other town happenings...OMG. I can't do this!
The pressure mounted...until it popped! As I read over the now useless outline I'd written I realized everything was going to be okay....because this was an opportunity! And despite my panic, I had time. Even better, I had an idea!
You see, the original plot idea (that included a renovation, a bet, and the purchase of property--my fellow Heartwarming authors are laughing at me right now), had been weighing on me to the point of wondering how I was going to pull it all off. But now the floodgates of possibilities opened. My characters were fine, they just needed a bit of a tweak, or rather, my hero did since my heroine owns an inn that isn't going anywhere. He needs a new profession, something that hadn't been done...doable, right? Right. Now, as I wrap up the other two projects, I'm anxious to get going on FLUTTERBY DREAMS, book 2 in the Butterfly Harbor series. I'll get to play around with one of my favorite past-times/hobbies and incorporate it into the story (shhhh....it's still in the planning stages) and in the end, I'll have an even better book than the one I'd originally planed.
So the lesson learned? This business is crazy. It can turn on a dime, in a variety of ways at any time and we roll with the punches. In some instances, even manage to find the glamour within the situation: maybe even incorporate an evening gown or two (can I wear my flip-flops?). Or in the words of one of my heroes, Dory from FINDING NEMO, I'll just keep swimming!
Happy reading, everyone!
A geek at heart, USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J Stewart writes "refreshingly unique, quietly humorous, and profoundly moving romance" (RT Book Reviews) for Harlequin and Berkley. Visit her online at www.authorannastewart.com and make sure to sign up for her news only newsletter...she gives away a surprise gift box to one lucky subscriber in each issue!