Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Monday, May 23, 2011

MAKING A PURSE OUT OF A SOW'S EAR

Idle time for a writer is not a good thing, especially in my case. Bordom sets in. I've emailed my romantic suspense, Mona Lisa's Room, back to my agent with the first round of tract changes completed. We'll go through this process once more before she feels the manuscript is good enough to "shop out" to publishers. Keep your fingers crossed, folks. An editor at The Wild Rose Press has my short story--or novella, if you prefer that term--and will get back to me by July 5th on Waiting on a Dream. So, what do I do now as I wait?


Dawn Dowdle, my agent, suggested I dust off Indigo Blooms, my first novel. She loved the story and fell hard for Fae, the little girl who wanted a Mommy. I must admit Fae was my favorite character in the book, too.


Dawn said since my writing's so much stronger now, perhaps I could polish the book into a more marketable format. In Pennsylvania Dutch lingo, she's hoping I can make a purse out of a sow's ear--a sow being a female pig. Perhaps now you're getting a visual of what I'm facing.

I rewrote the entire first chapter. Changed a lot of the back story. One could say the plot has many holes. And, honestly, at times it reads like it's written in a different language. Gee, and I thought it was so perfect at the time...sigh... Passive language, point of view issues and characters that overreact. No wonder she couldn't sell the thing.



I'm not sure Wonder-Woman-Writer could salvage this story. Still, fool that I am, I'm trying. I think it's because I want you to meet Fae, the real heart-stealer in the book. Of course her veterinarian father, muscled hunk that he is, can make a woman's heart stutter at twenty paces. He's worth the trouble, too. The heroine, her heart locked in a protective vault, has no defenses established against the charms of an exuberant child--who does?


How much do I keep? Dawn's already told me I need to take out two chapters that make the story "too dark," according to publishers she queried. So do I lighten up on the tension or just hit the delete key? What will I put in its place? Or do I simply start fresh with that section and go in a completely different direction? What to do...what to do...








Tell me, how do you revamp a weak story? How do YOU make a purse out of a sow's ear? 

5 comments:

Mary Ricksen said...

You slave at it until the lightbulb comes on and it starts to flow. And it works!! Good Luck!!

Jill James said...

I cry alot and complain that I can't fix it, then I dig in and see what I can do.

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks, Mary and Jill. You're right: just dig in and do it. I'm rewriting the first chapter for the third time as if I were starting a new book instead of pinching and pushing the original version around until it forms a better story. We'll see. Thanks for stopping by!

mistydietz said...

Vonnie, I think I've rewritten my ms opening chapter seven times...and I mean *completely* re-written. It makes you want to pull your hair out, but in the end, it's worth it! Good luck! You can do it! :)

Leah St. James said...

Good for you, Vonnie, for hanging on to your story and your characters. I've rewritten one book about four times and still haven't gotten it right, but I keep trying! I think your approach will depend on what needs to be done to fix the story. Passive verbs can be fixed with a good edit, but with multiple plot holes, it might be easier to just rewrite those sections. (I never throw anything out, just move them to another folder!) Good luck with it! Leah