I’ve got a lot of thinking to do on my break coming up here in a couple weeks, and one of them is whether or not to keep the first draft blog. At first, it was a lot of fun, but now I’m wondering if it’s hindering my ability to write freely. I know. I could write the story first and then post it, but that won’t stop people from coming in to critique it. I never intended for the blog to be something where other writers (most of the time it’s other writers) come in to tell me what I’m not doing right. I know they are trying to be helpful, but it shuts down the creative part of my brain and forces me into left-brain-editor-mode. I don’t want to be an editor while I am writing a book. I can’t afford to be an editor because the editor shuts down the creative side.
This is what I feared when people started making comments about mistakes they found. Again, I know they were trying to help, and I appreciate the support they’re giving me. But one thing I’ve noticed is that when I’m typing, I tend to go back and look for typos. Really, this isn’t what I should be doing in the first draft stage. The first draft stage is there for the story to get put on paper.
Walking away from the first draft blog and writing offline has been teaching me a couple of things I didn’t realize was going on before. The first draft blog is actually starting to stress me out. While it’s cool to get feedback, I have a hard time writing while receiving it, if that makes any sense. I wasn’t even aware that I was having a problem. I thought my creative side was shutting down due to my work load. I know I put too much on myself, but now that I’ve removed a big part of the clutter, I am finding the stress is still there. I got a comment today that pretty much produced an ‘ah ha’ moment. It was a nice comment. Please don’t get me wrong. This person was very complimentary. But it caused a part of my brain to go into edit mode, and then I realized how much I am dreading posting the rest of Bride of Second Chances. I had to remind myself this is all offline first. But I am wondering if I want to keep putting my work out there before my wonderful proofreaders have a chance to comb through it first. See, I trust my proofreaders because I’ve been working with them for a while and we’ve developed a level of trust where the not-so-great feedback doesn’t sting. It’s hard to explain unless you have a personality like mine. Or maybe it’s just the nature of being a writer. I’m not really sure.
While I was writing Bride of Second Chances, I was struggling with a part of it. Based on feedback I was receiving at the time (all good, by the way, but feedback on how people felt the story was doing and where it was going and should be going), I did jump the gun on a part of the story which I will have to go back and add in something. What that something is, I’m not sure. I have to think about it.
Had I been writing this offlline, I don’t think this would be an issue right now. I held back on A Bride for Tom, A Chance In Time, and Restoring Hope because I wasn’t truly comfortable ‘on stage’, but I was fine with A Husband for Margaret, Brave Beginnings, and Bid for a Bride. So I don’t know what the difference is. Perhaps I was doing things outside the first draft blog that made me more sensitive to comments on the blog or maybe those stories just came easier to me.
I’ll admit parts of Bride of Second Chances isn’t coming easy, and that is largely because my characters are flipping things on me. They aren’t following any of the plans I had for them. I usually don’t know how things will play out until I’m writing the scene. I mean, I saw everything clearly in Bid for a Bride. All of those characters did everything I expected them to, but Jeremy and Jane aren’t cooperating with me at all. The scene with Eliza and Jeremy when she told him about his father went completely different from what I expected. I think it turned out well, so I’m not complaining. And they weren’t supposed to confess their feelings to each other as soon as they did either, which wasn’t what I wanted. Those are just two examples.
So some books don’t play out at all like I think they will, and maybe that’s part of the problem. Trying to control characters is like trying to catch the wind. Characters either work with the author or they don’t, and there’s no way of telling when an author starts a story which way the characters will be. Some people, as they read my blog, think the story is going a certain way (and so do I), but then the characters will do something unexpected and those people aren’t expecting it any more than I am. Then I get comments. Sometimes on the blog and sometimes in an email. Again, it’s not bad comments. It’s just people are surprised. And all I can say is, ‘You think you’re surprised? I told these characters how I wanted them to do things, they agreed, and then they changed on me as I was writing the scene.’ LOL
So I might have to remove the blog. And maybe I should stop writing a first draft on Kate’s blog, too. I don’t want to end up in the same situation later on down the road.
The only exception would be Bound by Honor, Bound by Love. As predicted, no one really wants Brave Beginnings. They’re just not interested in it, and I don’t know if it’s the storyline, the title, the cover, or the fact that we have an interracial romance. I’ve talked to interracial romance writers, and they don’t report high sales overall. It’s just not a popular genre. I still plan to write the third book, but I don’t know if it’d be worth posting on the blog as a last story or what. I have trouble devoting offline time to something that will pretty much only be appreciated by those who read the first draft blog. No one else ever asks about the Native American Romance series. They all want the Larsons or another contemporary romance. They do want Jeremy and Jane’s story, but I’m writing and they know it so they don’t ask if I’ll write it. So I might write Bound by Honor, Bound by Love on the first draft blog (and possibly close off comments). Then I would finish it without sacrificing my offline writing time to books that people keep requesting in emails. I’d say about twice a week (on average), I get requests for another Larson book. About once every three months, I get someone wanting a holiday romance. But except for the first draft blog people, I never get a request for a Native American Romance book. Once I finish Bound by Honor, Bound by Love, I’m not doing anything else with any of those characters. That’s something I’ve decided today. Instead, I’ll move forward to focus on the Larsons.
One book I would like to do this year is that holiday romance called Just Good Friends. I think it could be a really fun story and perhaps something that will give me a good laugh. I’m aiming for a romantic comedy. I might work on this next, in addition to Claiming Lexie. The main character in Claiming Lexie keeps bugging me. He’s not happy that I’m working on Jeremy and Jane’s book. 😉 See what I mean? Fussy characters.