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

Friday, April 18, 2014

I've Got Scrambled Eggs in my Brain by Vonnie Davis

On tax day, April 15th, I emailed my manuscript for TO CATCH A FLAME to my editor at HarperImpulse in England. I'd been aiming for 73,000 words, as stated in my contract, but ended up with 74, 600 words. At times I feared I couldn't reach the minimum required. By story's end, I feared I was ending it too quickly, not giving my readers enough detail.

What I'd emailed her was a full-length book spun off from my Christmas novella, SANTA WORE LEATHERS. This novella and the subsequent books revolve around a fire and marine rescue station in Clearwater, Florida on the Gulf side of the state. In this book, my heroine, Cassie Wolford, the novella's hero's sister, has crushed on a guy, a firefighter and marine rescuer named Quinn Gallagher. Even though they've never been more than close friends for three years, she's nicknamed him Hot Lips--and dreamed of tasting them.

Cassie comes with a bit of emotional baggage. As a teenager, she was a "cutter,"  someone who cuts herself to feel pain for various past hurts. Through counseling and family intervention, she has overcome this urge for several years. She's gotten her associates in business and her certification as a beautician. And, when provoked, she can become a pistol. This is how I pictured Cassie.
 
 
Quinn is a more emotionally damaged hero than I've ever written before. I wanted him to be a badass who covered his pain with a smartass sense of humor. A complex man, who doesn't believe in love and yet takes in a stray kitten he's named Furball. My problem? At times, I wanted to change him into a nicer man--and then he wouldn't let me sleep. I'd be awake early in the mornings, wondering how I'd gotten off track and where.
 
 
 
So, I'd go back to Chapter One to reread, trying to hunt for the spot where I'd gone off-track with Quinn. I had to do this three times, finding the slip-up in chapters eight, twelve and fifteen. Every fine-toothed examination of the manuscript so far had me asking, over and over, WHY I wanted to try to write deeper emotion. I had no clue if any of my readers would cry over Quinn and Cassie's story, but I was certainly shedding tears trying to write the darn thing.
 
Did I succeed? I won't know until my editor at HarperImpulse reads it and makes her decision. But I do know one thing: My brains are like scrambled eggs. I'm forgetful. I can barely write a cohesive sentence or form a complete thought. I'm sleeping more, taking a nap every day and trying to reenergize mentally. In short, I'm going through what every author goes through after finishing a book. Non-writers have no clue what this process takes from us. On the other hand...I have an obsessive need to work on my next story.
 
Calvin is trying his best to keep me from writing for a few days. He wants me to heal for a week or more. Movies, shopping, choosing new flooring for our kitchen and picking out some plants. Even so...my mind keeps straying to the Highlands of Scotland for book two of my Highlander's Beloved Series.
 
This blog has been brought to you by the woman with scrambled eggs for brains.

12 comments:

Denise Dittus said...

Awe V!! Listen to Calvin...you need rest and deserve it. I too get completely discombobulated in my story and find myself re-reading and re-writing through the whole process until I get it just perfect. It's a curse. I envy those who just sit and toss it all out there in one fell swoop...So I guess taking 5 years to finish a story isnt so bad???? Just love you and now you made me want scrambled eggs for breaky...Cant wait to read this book! Josie Matthews...

Liz Flaherty said...

Calvin's right. A week is hard but not impossible (I think--I haven't done it...er...recently) and will probably be good for you.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Hi Denise! Hugs, darlin'. I told Calvin in bed last night I was starting to feel like I was wasting days because I wasn't writing "something." He hugged me and said, "That's what writers do. They write. But wives..." he shook his fist at me, "listen to their husbands and rest when they need to. And, angel, you need to." I laughed at "the fist." My body agreed with him, so the resting days will continue.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Liz, for nearly 5 years I've written "the end" on one book and immediately opened another document and written "chapter one" on it. My mind really does need a break. I mean, it's not 11:00 am yet and I could go back to bed. My eyes are so tired.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Vonnie, I know the feeling of wanting to hurry to the next book, but we need to re-energize our brains. Calvin's suggestions are right on. Give your brain a chance to reboot. ☺ Although you could write as well with scrambled egg brains as most with a clear mind, a few days off won't hurt.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Caroline, I'm laughing as I read your comments. I was just thinking what could it hurt to format the manuscript and my character sheets...it's an addiction, I tell you!!!

debjulienne said...

I totally understand, I feel like runny scrambled eggs..ugh.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh, Deb, why do we drive ourselves like this? Thanks for stopping by.

Jan said...

Vonnie, thank you for your honesty. As a new writer, I feel like I have found a new friend. I won't feel so alone now that I have a professional point of view about the writer's life. I will be hanging around your blog to gain more insight.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Vonnie, Vonnie! Calvin is right. Your next book will be better for the brain-rest. But I am in awe and in envy of your passion for your characters. I am a careful writer, but I guess I compartmentalize. Right now I am thinking about my golf game and thinning out my fruit trees. I just finished reading Nora Ephron's I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK (a great read) and mortality is on my mind. She says "You can order more than one dessert." I'm going with that philosophy :-) Love you, Vonnie! Rolynn

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thank you, Jan. Stop by anytime. I've been writing fulltime for nearly 5 years. I've worked hard to learn my craft and grow a thicker skin. This profession is not for the weak...it can be tough. Lucky for me, I've me a lot of helpful and delightful writers who have held my hand and whispered in my ear that I could do it...and, my dear, so can you.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Rolynn, my one-time muse, I'm doing fairly well at resting, although I did do just a smidgen of writing. I couldn't help it...it's an obsession. It was only part of a chapter...don't judge. LOL