One reason I became an author–second only to needing to do something about the voices in my head–was it gave me a chance to write books I would like to read. How many times have you read a book or seen a movie but wished you could change something about it? If you make up entirely new scenes, different endings, or new characters in your head, then you might be a writer my friend.
This week I’ve been working through edits on Blue Violet. This book was the first book I wrote. I had self-published it, won a few awards for it, gathered and awesome group of readers, and then–Yay!–The Wild Rose Press contracted it in January. So I’m getting a chance to read back through it in detail. Since I first wrote Blue Violet I have gone on to write three short stories and eight more books.
Are there some rookie issues that my editor is helping tighten up? Absolutely. But what stood out most to me while editing Blue Violet was the memory of writing certain things because that was what I wanted to read. Such as:
Skip the Flowery Descriptions
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy descriptions. But I also tend to skip past them when I read. I was, and still am, deliberate about leaving as much to the reader’s imagination as I can. If anything, Beta readers have to tell me to put more in. And descriptions of things like rooms, furniture, clothes, etc., are added in during my second draft because I skipped them entirely in the first draft.
I knew this would be a series, and I love to see strong families in the series that I read. I also like to see families who are made up not only of blood relatives, but of those friends who become closer than friends. There are also enough dysfunctional families out there. Books are a means of escape. So I do tend to give my family dynamics very few flaws. They don’t all agree, but the do all love each other.
Fight Scenes That Aren’t 100 Pages Long
I love a good battle, especially when superpowers are involved. But I find that most books tend toward making the battle last a little too long for my tastes. And, back to descriptions, I get bored with all the details. I do have to balance that out and not write a 1 page fight scene. Ironically, the fight scenes are some of my favorite parts of the book to write. They practically leap from my fingers to the screen. But I will always try to keep them on the briefer side.
Dialogue might be my favorite parts of the book to write. This is partly because when I think of my characters, I think of their interactions, which are primarily dialogue. Also, since I get to think through their reactions, my characters get to say and think exactly what their thinking. They don’t tend to get the two-day-later, I-should-have-said syndrome that we do in real life. That’s fun for me.
Heroines Who Save the Day
While I love an Alpha hero, I adore a kick ass heroine. Some of my heroines are stronger than others, but it all started with Ellie, who can do some pretty awesome things. Is she perfect? Nope. She’s impetuous and a little too bubbly sometimes. But boy was she fun to write – especially that final fight scene.
Points of View
I originally wrote Blue Violet with a lot of point of view changes – even just for a paragraph – because I like to know how multiple people are viewing the same thing. I rarely do this any more because most editors hate it and most readers find it confusing. I personally still like it, but it’s one of those things I’m willing to compromise on.
If you tried to or do write books, what are the parts that you would focus on? What conventions would you flaunt? What would you skip because you find it boring? What would you add more of because you like it?