August 15, 2013
By Laura Drake
The very first book I ever wrote, I began 20 years ago. I knew nothing. No, really. All I had was a sense of story forged from a lifetime of reading, and an idea that wouldn’t leave me alone. That book was my teacher. It took three years to complete, and 4,375 edits (or maybe it just seemed that way.) Every new thing I learned (you know, little things like Point of view) I’d revise.
I had no luck selling it.
But by then, I was hooked. I wrote my next book. You know the drill – lather, rinse, repeat. Three books later, I sold. In the phone call when my agent offered me representation, she said, “So, what else do you have?” My only excuse was, I was nervous, okay? I knew that first book was supposed to stay in the drawer and never see the light of day. I blurted out the old pitch, and she said, “That’s interesting, let me see what I can do.”
Yikes! I immediately set out on a huge, character-changing edit. I always knew what I wanted to say, I didn’t have the skills to say it.
It was a story of a woman running from the nightmares of her past, and what happened when she has no choice but to stop, turn, and face them.
In that one edit, the hero went from a skinny redheaded veterinarian to the owner of a tow and body shop who looks like a bit like a young Bruce Springsteen. Sexier, no? I told you I didn’t know anything when I started!
The heroine went from a pudgy brunette to a leggy blonde.
The dog goes from a husky mix puppy to a full grown bulldog who drools like a waterfall and farts like cannon-fire.
I named the book RoadSong – the name became Her Road Home.
It released last week! I’m so proud of how it turned out – it’s now just what I wanted to say, twenty years ago.
And I’m SO glad I never have to edit it again!
Have you ever massively changed a book?
Have you read one that you would have liked to?