Thursday, August 23, 2012

Backstory of A PATH TOWARD LOVE



Confession time! Writing a 90,000 word novel is always daunting for me and probably for most of us. A Path toward Love was the most difficult story I’ve ever written. Or maybe I should say it was the most difficult to revise.

Each book has its own unique challenges because you can’t use a cookie cutter to make the writing easier or faster. After three books you’d think the fourth one would be a breeze. I should’ve learned enough to help smooth out the writing process. I guess I didn’t quite learn enough!

When my editor and I first started to talk about A Path toward Love, she suggested I change story locations. We decided to keep the same class of Gilded Age people, but move from Newport, Rhode Island to another New England resort. She suggested Martha’s Vineyard and few other fantastic places. But after researching the different locations I knew the primary settings in the northeast (the major summer playground for the super rich) were Bar Harbor, the Berkshires, and Saratoga Springs. None of these differed too much from Newport except for Saratoga Springs known for the Saratoga Race Course and gambling. Maybe not the best choice for an inspirational romance. So I kept looking even though the clock was ticking toward my deadline.

Then I remembered reading about the Great Camps of the Adirondack Mountains of New York. These camps were built on hundreds, sometimes thousands of acres of rural, rugged land. They were set on the shores of secluded lakes that gave their owners lots of privacy. Many Gilded Age millionaires from New York came here, but unlike those who summered in Newport, these were mainly people who loved the outdoors and enjoyed ‘roughing it.’

So now I had my setting.

Make sure you settle on a location you love.
I’ve been to the Adirondack Mountains many times, so this was a great choice for me. I researched the area, but I also remembered the mountains very well. I’d lived in Vermont right across Lake Champlain for twenty years. In fact, I could see the peaks of the mountains from the top of the road I lived on.

Here are a few tips to consider when you begin writing your novel:

Pay attention to your weaknesses and try to overcome them.
My primary weakness -- I like to write plot as much as character, so I tend to put more thought into the external story than into the romance. It’s like trying to keep your car going straight when the tires are out of alignment. This penchant for heading off the road into the ditch is just as bad for a romance author than it is for a driver.

External story is crucial, but romance readers really love the relationship between the hero and heroine and that’s why they read the story. Anyone disagree with that?

I’m raising my hand but not very high. The external story makes the romance for me. At its best it conveys a unique situation and difficult problems to overcome, interesting settings etc. Am I alone in thinking the story has to be as fascinating as the characters, or maybe even more so? After all, we all know the story will end Happily Ever After. The romance will work out by the end of the book. Otherwise, it’s not a true romance.

As soon as my editor approved the synopsis for A Path toward Love, I started writing. Admittedly, I got carried away with the plot. I added lots of characters and subplots, each of which was important to the hero and heroine’s romance. But maybe not as important as I thought they were! Of course the romance remained, yet looking back, I might have relegated it to the back burner. It might have been on simmer, not full boil for too long. I guess I forgot I was writing a romance, not a women’s fiction with romantic elements.

Don’t let yourself get sidetracked and so involved in the story line that you neglect the romance. It’s the romance, stupid! I have to keep that in the front of my mind or else I go astray. (I doubt most romance authors have this problem.)

Let your critique partners or reliable friends read the manuscript before you turn it in to your editor.
I did, but maybe I should’ve asked a few more people to read it over. More sets of eyes find more mistakes and inconsistencies. Lesson learned.

When I got my editorial letter, I knew I had a lot of revising to do in a short period of time.

Stay calm, buckle down and don’t panic!
At first glance the task looked impossible. But I didn’t have a choice. After a conference call with my two editors, I knew what I had to change. But I had to think through all their ideas before I began to revise.

There’s no time for writer’s block.

Always listen to your editor.
She’s on your side and wants you to produce the best book possible.

My editor asked me to strengthen the romance and downplay the external plot. The upside of deleting beloved characters and subplots – I have plenty of material for other books. And I know these characters will someday reappear in another setting. There’s always an upside to revisions, although it’s sometimes difficult to see when you’re struggling to finish them and get them right.

Once my editor read the manuscript she realized Katherine, my heroine, should be seen in her day-to-day world at the beginning of the book. The reader should see her managing her orange groves and understand what she’s endured to keep the business going. Her life in Florida is important throughout the story because it’s where the crucial parts of her backstory happened. It was showing, not telling. I agreed that writing a new beginning was a great idea. BUT I had to write an extra 60 pages from scratch. It wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be and that was a blessing.

Trust your editor’s judgment.
She knows so much more about the structure of a novel than I do. As a writer I don’t always spot plot holes etc. or how adding and subtracting scenes can improve a story. It’s easy to fall in love with your own words. So, ‘pick your fights’ and give your editor the benefit of the doubt.

Discuss your synopsis in detail with your editor.
I wish I’d done this more before I wrote the book. Make sure you’re both clear about the story and the characters because misunderstandings can cause a lot of painful revisions no one wants.

If you have an important question while you’re writing the story, ask your editor.
Don’t wait.

The process of writing and revising a book is like making sausage. Messy. But hopefully you’ll have a great product at the end.

I’m giving away a copy of A Path toward Love. If you’re interested, please leave a comment and your e-mail address.



Romantic Times Review – 4 ½ Stars!

A PATH TOWARD LOVE

This wonderful, fast-paced historical romance features family secrets and a mother who tries to play matchmaker, with results she doesn’t anticipate. The characters start out immature and sort of bullheaded, but as the story unfolds, they group up and realize people are only trying to help them. James brings new life to a sometimes overused storyline. Readers will not want the book to end and will remember it long after they finish it.

SUMMARY: In 1905 Hernando Country, Fla., Katherine Osborne is struggling to make the orange groves that have been in her husband’s deceased family for a long time turn around and make a profit. Her parents strike a deal with her: They will fund the money she needs to make the payments to the bank, to avoid losing the grove, if she comes and spends the summer with them in Raquette Lake, in the Adirondacks.
Her mother has matchmaking in mind, and she’d determined to find Katherine a wealthy husband. Andrew Townsend has known Katherine will look upon him in a different light, now that he works for her father. Will Katherine find a new love and be able to make old dreams into new ones?




77 comments :

  1. I'm not the RT, but I also gave A Path Toward Love 4 1/2 stars (which rounds to 5 on my Amazon review).

    I really enjoyed it (obviously). And I thought the characters, Katherine in particular, were a real strength. She was intelligent, mature and independent, with a very real conflict between wanting to respect her mother vs. stand up to her. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really enjoyed this book! I like having both a rich external story and a great romance, (though I do tend to be more focused on the romance) and you did a great job on both in this story. A Path Toward Love is the first book I have read of yours but I have been wanting to read the Ladies of Summerhill series since Love on A Dime came out. Hopefully I will soon get a chance to read those too! So many books so little time!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, Iola! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. I liked writing about Katherine because I tried to make her strong and determined, two qualities I admire.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm laughing, Abbi, because I know all about so many books and so little time to read them. I wish I could take a year or two off and do little else but read. I'd write a little, but mainly I'd read. I can dream.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you. It is always interesting to see how a new book comes about and all you have to do to get it finished and perfected. This was very inspiring and when I do read the book it will give me greater appreciation for it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I haven't read A Path Toward Love but it sounds wonderful. And always so interesting to hear about other peoples' writing processes.

    I have to admit I'm similar - in fact right now I'n having to revise my WIP to up the hero/heroine relationship and romance content!

    ReplyDelete
  7. "It’s like trying to keep your car going straight when the tires are out of alignment."

    Ah, this is so true. I tend to write more romance and then weave in the external story.

    Great post, Cara

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cara, I can't wait to read this one! Devour it!!!!

    And Iola, bless you, what a great champion you are. Truly.

    What I liked about this post is how you advised us simply and straightforwardly to listen to our editors...

    I'm a writer who gets immersed, and then I don't always see a story through reader's eyes. And that's clutch for sales and marketing. And nabbing that editor!!!!

    They like to be listened to! ;)

    Hey, I brought the Keurig along and a whole mess of choices. Great new creamers, peeps. FALL CREAMERS!!!!

    :)

    Grinning from upstate where I whine, whine, whine if it gets near 90.

    Clearly a Yank!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This book infuriated me. LOL. Thanks to Katherine's mother. Oy!!! Seriously set my blood to boiling. And Katherine's quandry -- talk about being manipulated! Great way to engage a reader's emotions!

    Loved Katherine's strength and determination but how both were tempered by her friendship with Andrew. I think you succeeded in balancing plot and romance but now I'm curious as to what (and who) you cut! I think I know one character that you might have edited down...wondering if she deserves her own book some day?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Cara, what a great post! I haven't read anything by you yet, but this book looks wonderful- can't wait to get my hands on a copy! Thanks for the chance to win it!

    lubell106(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  11. This book looks really good! I LOVE the cover, and can't wait to see what's inside!

    jennycohen104(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  12. HI Cara, I'm so with you about getting over involved in the plot and forgetting the romance. I've done it many times. You really made me chuckle.

    And congrats on getting through this and ending up with a terrific story AND romance. smile

    Ruthy is so right. We do need to listen to those editors. They know the market and what sells. They know what makes a great read. Thank God for great editors. smile

    ReplyDelete
  13. Mary, my experience with rewriting isn't uncommon (I don't think), but most authors don't have quite as many revisions. I'm hoping I don't have as many next time! It certainly taught me to write fast and to stay on track right from the beginning.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Kara, I'm glad to see I'm not alone! I'm not sure why I initially give the h&h less internal conflict than external conflict. Maybe because it's easier for me.

    BTW, I just helped get my grandson off to K-5, his first day of school this year. He looked so cute.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great post, Cara. I love seeing how books come together for others. It's all the same but different, right?

    External vs Internal tends to give me a headache, LOL! I love developing the plot and researching captivating tidbits, and then I have my V8 moment and remember it is ALL ABOUT THE ROMANCE.

    LOL. Live and learn. And learn. And learn.

    Thanks for the reminders!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Bridgett, you must be a natural born romance writer. I have a writer friend who can write an entire book without much of an external plot and it still holds my interest. I don't know how she does it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. LOL,Ruthy. Editors like their ideas to be incorporated in the story and I don't mind as long as those ideas don't ruin the storyline!

    Do you have air conditioning? We didn't have any when we lived in northern Vermont. Usually is was over 90 for one miserable week in the summer.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Cara, you said, Discuss your synopsis in detail with your editor.
    I didn't even realize writers did this until after I'd turned in my second or third book! I really want to start doing this, because it would make my revision process easier, I'm sure! I also need to start letting my crit partners help me more. Sigh. Live and learn.

    And CONGRATS on getting a 4 1/2 star review on your new book! That is awesome!!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm with Audra, "External vs Internal tends to give me a headache!" A big headache! It sounds like you learned a lot while writing A Path Toward Love, Cara. Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to read it!
    jilian2011(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh, and I meant to say that I am kind of the opposite. I do like to plot the external story in my head before I start. But once I start writing, it's all about the romance! I have to remind myself to include the other characters once in a while! I tend to forget about everybody else besides the hero and heroine. And I ALWAYS have them falling in love too soon. My poor editor has to tell me the same things over and over with every book. lOL! "What happened to so-and-so? We haven't heard from them in 150 pages!" "They're already having feelings for each other? Too soon." "I think you should slow this down a little. It's too soon." LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Of course, she's always right. Which is the worst part of it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. GREAT POST, Cara, and I humbly concur with your point to LISTEN TO YOUR EDITOR!! This is a lesson I learned the hard way!!!

    You also said: "I like to write plot as much as character, so I tend to put more thought into the external story than into the romance."

    HA!! I am just the opposite and tend to put more thought into the romance than the plot which means we would make a dynamic duo if we ever decided to collaborate on a book!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  23. Cara, thanks so much for sharing the backstory to your story. :) It was a comfort for me to read it and see that even multi-published authors are learning and refining their process as they write more books.

    If you could give one tip to an unpublished author about process, what would it be?

    Your book sounds like a great read!!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. CARA--Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I'm more into characterization/relationships and internal conflict, but there's so much emphasis and warning about having "a strong external, book-length conflict" that we can sometimes over-compensate to make sure its convincing. It's hard to strike that magical balance at times. Probably i should put a sign up at my desk: YOU'RE WRITING A ROMANCE. :)

    And yes, we need to listen to our editors who see our story through fresh eyes. Sometimes there will be a scene I loved and my editor will say "what is your purpose in this scene?" That let's me know it isn't clear to the reader, that maybe it's episodic. So I re-evaluate and either pump it up in a rewrite to solidify and clarify the purpose or I cut the scene out, maybe move bits and pieces of it elsewhere, and use any leftover word count to beef up another scene.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Cara! I've been waiting for your new book to come out!

    Thank you so much for the tips. I'm in the middle of plotting my first longer book (and sometimes wonder if I've bitten off more than I can chew), but the story is there insisting that I write it. Following your journey will help.

    I have to agree with your point "Make sure you settle on a location you love." After all, you're going to 'live' there for months - you'd better enjoy the scenery! But more than that, it has to capture your imagination if it's going to be the backdrop for a wonderful story.

    And please put me in for the drawing!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Kav, I had to cut down on Harriet's role in the story. I also deleted her evil brother, Katherine's sister and her son and Katherine's cousin who liked Andrew. Oh, and Andrew's sister. They really didn't add enough to the romance.

    Who do you think deserves a story of her own??? Harriet? I'm really curious.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks for stopping by Elyssa and Jenny!

    Sandra, editors can see what we as writers can't see because everything is in our minds -- but not necessarily on the page. After revising many times I can't remember what I kept and what I deleted.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hey, Audra! Maybe you need your tires aligned too! I'm trying to develop a better strategy for keeping the romance front and center. I now make a 'romantic time line' and I hope that helps me. Probably everyone does something like that, but I didn't because I'm always more concerned with escalating the external plot.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Mel, when I talked to my editor after my editorial letter I realized we both had different interpretations of the synopsis. We read the same pages, but we put the emphasis on different things and that led to confusion and ultimately lots of revisions.

    I think if we'd hashed this out at the beginning, we would've discovered this before I started writing.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Yes, Harriet for so many reasons which I can't really say or it would be posting spoilers. I'm interested in her backstory. How could she justify what she did? Could you make her a heroine readers could love? Technically all things are possible through our Saviour so if He can forgive and forget so should we...but still it would be a challenge.

    And my goodness, you cut out a lot!!! That makes me take heart as I seem to have a tad too many characters in everything I write.

    I like the end result though - because the romance and the journey towards it -- are really strong the way it's written now. Valid reasons on both their parts for being reluctant. Huge obstacles strewn in their path, but regardless they are still drawn to each other as friends and the reader knows it's really so much more.

    Oh and loved Aunt Letty! The calm voice of reason in the midst of chaos!!!

    And I suppose you could redeem a certain male character -- but you'd have to pull a Julie Lessman to accomplish that one. I'm sure you know who I'm talking about. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'd love to read your book! Looks fantastic and something I'd definitely be into! I've never read anything from Cara, but looking forward to it!

    Emreilly303(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  32. Please enter me into the drawing! Love romance, it makes everything a little more interesting! I have to admit that I don't think I've ever had a problem writing the romance part...it's everything else I have to work hard to keep my attention on. lol! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Dreilly316(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  33. I've got A Path Toward Love in my hot little hands right now, Cara. I'm really looking forward to the new setting and visiting a fascinating place. I know you'll take me there.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks for the giveaway! Please entering me in the drawing!

    Jreilly316(at)verizon(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  35. I've been waiting to read this book for awhile!

    marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Cara:

    Your post really clarified a pet peeve of mine and that is the lack of genuine romance in many romances today. I read romances for one thing: to watch the step-by-step process of the hero and heroine falling in love. No other genre does this as well or at all. But romance does not fulfill this mission often enough.

    “External story is crucial, but romance readers really love the relationship between the hero and heroine and that’s why they read the story. Anyone disagree with that?”

    I agree 100% with this.


    The external story is like the bottle that holds the wine. It can be plain or fancy. It can add ambiance to the dining experience but it is the wine that counts. In a genre romance it is the process of falling in love that counts. The slow, step-by-step, give-and-take, of falling in love – is the ‘show’. Showing this process is what I believe is the forgotten art of romance writing today. Too often writers ‘cop-out’ on this process altogether.

    How many times have your read a ‘cop-out’ scene like this:

    “Mary closed her eyes and warned herself to guard her heart and not risk falling in love with a man like Randy. But it was already too late.”

    But, Vince, love happens like that in real life! Isn’t there love at first sight? Yes, and sometimes in real life the first detective on the crime scene solves the crime in ten minutes. But, then, that doesn’t make for much of a mystery story, does it?

    In a mystery, what I love most is watching how Sherlock Holmes solves a crime, bit by bit, with just his powers of deduction. Wow! That’s the essence of mystery. That’s the joy of the reading experience. It’s also the hardest part for the writer to create.

    The essence of romance is the process of falling in love. I long for this. I read romances for this.

    I ask writers: where are all the articles detailing, (may I dare suggest plotting), the step-by-step process of showing the hero and heroine falling in love?

    I think too many writers are stuck on GMC. Just remove the conflict and presto the parties will fall in love. Not so. The falling in love process is magical. It’s the greatest show on earth. I’m not talking about lust. I’m not talking about romantic gestures like holding doors open. I’m talking about the messy and complicated inter-meshing of two hearts and souls into a loving relationship. A relationship that can sustain the HEA!

    Again: where are the articles and online classes on how to do this? How important can the external story really be on the 100th hidden child romance you’ve read? The real interest is in how these two people are going to fall in love. Even if I am guaranteed that they will fall in love that still does not take away from the spectacle of them becoming one in love.

    A great romance is like being a participant to the greatest show on earth.

    Plot the ‘falling in love' first. Don’t be 'character driven' or 'plot driven'. Be ‘love driven’. GMCL. Goal, motivation, conflict, love. "Dance with the one who brought you to the dance."

    Vince

    P.S. Come on now: editors aren’t always right. It’s just that they are infallible when they speak ex-publicata.

    P.P.S.No. No. No. It’s not about the author. Settle on a location your readers will love! When you go fishing do you use bait you like to eat or bait the fish like to eat?

    P.P.P.S. If there is a way to win a ebook copy of your book, please enter me…vmres (at) swbell (dot) net.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Jillian, I did learn a lot as I wrote the book. Some of my weaknesses I didn't mention were repetition (I never see this) and show and tell. I think I finally mastered that! At least I hope so.

    Julie and Mel, I envy your ability to remember it is all about the romance. I just get carried away with 'what ifs' and then I get on a roll and come up with complicated and convoluted plots. I always have to simplify.

    ReplyDelete
  38. You make some excellent points, Cara! You asked, "Am I alone in thinking the story has to be as fascinating as the characters, or maybe even more so?"

    Definitely not! I have been bored to tears reading romances that were ALL about the on-again-off-again romance between a lovesick guy and gal. Without an intriguing set of external and internal conflicts, it's just mindless fluff.

    But yes, the romance has to be central, with all the external stuff working either for or against the couple. That's what makes the story compelling.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Jeanne, great question about process! My tip would be to at least know your characters well, your plot points for the external story and where they should happen, and the progress of the romance. Both internal and external plots should have twists and turns.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Glynna, I've cut scenes out, too. When I write a scene and can't come up with a meaningful ending, I usually end up cutting it.

    So I do my best to give the scene a purpose before I write. Sometimes I can 'discover' a great purpose as I write, but often I can't.

    ReplyDelete
  41. i would love to read your book! add me in your giveaway. email is pinkbonnie93@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  42. Jan, before I start I know my story and characters, but I don't develop all the scenes before I begin writing. I don't want to finish and decide 'Ok, I'm done.' If I lose interest I can't write the book. So a skeletal outline is right for me.

    I divide the book into 4 sections (beginning, first part of the middle, second part of the middle and the ending.) I'll outline all the scenes for each section and then write. That way I learn more about my characters as I go along.

    Also, I love for the characters to surprise me. But I sometimes allow them to do things inconsistent with their personalities. That's another thing I have to watch.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Kav, I'd love to write Harriet's story, but it would sure be a challenge. But she makes a good character, I think. No one should be all good or all bad.

    ReplyDelete
  44. My primary weakness -- I like to write plot as much as character, so I tend to put more thought into the external story than into the romance. It’s like trying to keep your car going straight when the tires are out of alignment. This penchant for heading off the road into the ditch is just as bad for a romance author than it is for a driver.

    ------- I love this!

    Aha moment!!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hi Bonnie, Marissa, Mary, Debbie, Emily and John! Thank you for stopping by.

    Myra, I think A Path toward Love was the hardest book for me to write because my editor took away most of my external plot. That forced me to concentrate much more on the romance. Great learning experience -- which means it was challenging!

    ReplyDelete

  46. -----Plot the ‘falling in love' first. Don’t be 'character driven' or 'plot driven'. Be ‘love driven’. GMCL. Goal, motivation, conflict, love. "Dance with the one who brought you to the dance."


    Oh, VINCE. I'm such a groupie. You need to start a fan club already. I'll be president.

    ---P.S. Come on now: editors aren’t always right. It’s just that they are infallible when they speak ex-publicata.


    Uh-HUH. Thank you! Of couse, we still do everything they say. I don't think it's always a matter of 'right' but more of 'vision'. They sure know what's going to sell for them. That may not be the same as the book of your heart.

    And that's painful. But hey, when money gets involved, we have to make hard choices. Leave the ms in the drawer or let it see the light of day. *sigh*

    And maybe someday it will see the light of day for some other editor.

    Hard choices.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thank you, Cara Lynn!

    When I finished "Finding Beth" and started in on "Loving Tiffany", I felt like I was drowning. I'd grown so accustom to rewriting, that starting fresh was daunting. I knew my story, my heroine and hero, the antagonist, etc, but it wasn't on the page yet. And getting it there was frustrating in the beginning. I wanted it to be done, yet I suffered from a bit of writer's block. I think due to simply being overwhelmed. Then I reminded myself, as I'm sure I will do often while writing this book, to focus on the moment. Focus on the scene in front of me and just let the story flow. It will come.

    It's nice to know I'm not the only one struggling with the next book. :D

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hi Cara, I have not read this book and would so love to win it, Katherine sounds like a strong character and good kind to read about. I liked your comments about location and the search through your mind to find just the right spot, so glad you have the talant that you do and for sharing it.
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

    ReplyDelete
  49. What an interesting post! It's nice to be reminded of the hard work that authors go through to create a great book. And Cara Lynn's sounds like a great one.
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hi Cara! I'm excited to read A Path Toward Love sometime soon- I've read your others and loved those!

    Great advice and stuff I'll take to heart, if I'm blessed enough to be published someday. I hear you with falling in love with your own words- dealing with that right now.

    Have a great day!

    stephluwdig at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  51. Cara, we've got a couple of window units that help me stay sane and keep the leastun's happy.

    Just enough to take the edge off so I don't get GRUMPY.

    I am not a pleasant person when I'm GRUMPY.

    ReplyDelete
  52. If you guys have never come north to the Adirondacks or the "Southern Tier" of New York (the part of the northern Allegheny Mountains that run along the border of Pennsylvania and New York) there are some of the most beautiful, wonderful vacation spots in the world. Hills, forests, campgrounds, lakes, rivers, creeks, small towns. I could literally tell stories FOREVER in the geography of these settings.

    It is beyond gorgeous. And in the winter, there are winter sports.

    Some of those are INDOOR SPORTS... (big grin)...

    :)

    Hey romance is a wonderful thing. But seriously, Cara set this story in one of the parts of NYS that few people know about. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Vince, I'm dying laughing here!

    I agree with you.

    But like Ginny-Lou-Who I tend to elongate the outside parameters of the story and have to pull myself back into the "key on romance" director's cue.

    But once I've done that, I can go back, SCOUR for words I can dump or phrases I don't need, and then...

    THEN!!!!!

    I can tuck in Ruthy-nuances of cool fun stuff that makes me sigh and think sweet things about kitties and babies and soft-smelling soaps, rugged man, biceps and frank looks.

    Ahhhh......

    romance!

    ReplyDelete

  54. "I divide the book into 4 sections (beginning, first part of the middle, second part of the middle and the ending.) I'll outline all the scenes for each section and then write. That way I learn more about my characters as I go along.

    Also, I love for the characters to surprise me. But I sometimes allow them to do things inconsistent with their personalities. That's another thing I have to watch."

    This is why I read all the comments all the time! The "four sections" really popped out at me. It will help me with those inconsistencies!

    Thanks so much. No need to put me in the drawing. Cara Lynn is also going to Switzerland with me.

    My goal is to cram as many Seekers and friends of Seekers in my kindle as possible.

    Peace, Julie

    ReplyDelete
  55. Vince, I totally agree that the love between the H&h has to be the focus of a romance. Everything else has to be included but other elements are secondary.

    I agree the reader is king or queen as the case may be.

    As far as location goes, there's no way I could set a book in certain states. I don't like the locations and I couldn't stand spending even a minute there even in my mind. I wouldn't enjoy the process of writing, and I'm sure my attitude would come through.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Virginia, at first I didn't realize I favored the external plot over romance. I also have a tendency to add too many characters. But since I know these weaknesses, I can try to avoid them. I needed someone to point them out to me.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Julie, I'm ready to go to Switzerland with you! Right now.

    Ruthy, you're never grumpy!!!

    Virginia and Vince, nobody agrees with the editor all the time. I've disagreed and sometimes and of course I've spoken up. But I know what I can let pass and what I can't. I'd never nitpick every single objection. But if an editor completely changes your story so you hardly recognize it, but have to decide whether it's important enough to you to fight to keep it the way you want it or to just let it go. Sometimes the editor's vision is clearer than the author's.

    The editor's acceptance of your manuscript allows you to get paid -- an important point!

    If you don't want to compromise after thinking it over carefully, then see if you can self-publish it and keep it the way you want it.

    All this takes good judgment.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Stephanie, it's SO easy to fall in love with your own words since a writer spends so much time and thought in finding the right ones. I hate to delete, but it's usually necessary. I paste them just in case I need them again. I haven't so far, but you never know.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Cara, what a great post! I agree, you need to stay focused on the romance (if you're writing a romance novel, I mean). :)

    I always find myself focusing more on the family relationships and internal struggles and have to re-focus my efforts on the romance!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Thanks, Lola, for reading and doing reviews!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hi, Amy and Paula!

    Linnette, writing a novel is a major project, but it's so much easier when you break it into chapters and scenes. I can manage to finish a scene, but I never thought I could write an entire book. Not too many years ago I doubted to could even complete a chapter.

    ReplyDelete
  62. >> I guess I forgot I was writing a romance, not a women’s fiction with romantic elements. <<

    Cara, I'm very glad you DO write romance,but is there a reason you don't write women's fiction with romantic elements? It sounds like you'd be super at it, too :-)

    Definitely printing this off for the notebook. Thanks!

    Nancy C

    ReplyDelete
  63. P.S. I should probably ask if women's fiction can be historic :-)

    Also, great point about location. There are places I would not try to write no matter how much research I did. Hopefully the places I know will be good settings.

    Nancy C

    ReplyDelete
  64. Thank you, Cara! Love to read how different authors go through their writing process, and these tips you gave are great (yes, another for my Keeper files *smile*). ~ Your book sounds wonderful--as I'm sure all your books are! Blessings from rainy Georgia, Patti Jo
    p.s. Enjoy the warm peach cobbler--just took it out of the oven! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  65. Thanks for this realistic look at the process, Cara. Funny how we all have our strong points and the parts we struggle with.

    Ruthy, I got to drive through (or near) your area of the world this summer. It truly is magnificent. And I thought northern Ontario had a lot of trees!

    I'd love a chance to win your book, Cara. It sounds wonderful!

    Cheers,
    Sue

    ReplyDelete
  66. Missy, I find myself focusing on family relationships as well as the romance.

    I wonder when the family relationships put the book into the category of women's fiction instead of romance.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Nancy, I think historical women's fiction is usually called historical fiction. But I'm not really sure.

    When I started writing seriously about 10 yrs. ago I wanted to join a writer's group. I found a local RWA group so I started to write romance because that was what all the workshops were about. That's what the group wrote. So I thought I'd try it.

    Originally I thought I'd write women's fiction and I'd still like to. Maybe I will in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Thanks for stopping by Patti Jo and Sue!

    ReplyDelete
  69. Cara,I read this last night but was in a rush and couldn't comment.

    This is such a truism post.

    A good editor knows how to mine you and turn your coal into diamonds.

    I am very, very grateful for the LI editors.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Cara, when you do a synopsis for your editor, do you outline each scene as you expects it to happen or is it more general thatn that?

    Definitely in for the book

    wmussell(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  71. Most interesting thank you.

    I would love to read PATH TOWARD LOVE thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  72. Hi, Tina and Marybelle!

    Walt, yes I usually outline every scene with GMC etc. Then I write the gist of it in a sentence or two and paste it at the top of each scene so I don't forget what I'm supposed to do. When it's finished I delete.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Cara,

    Great post! Thanks for the helpful post, including how to work with one's editor.

    Congrats on a great book!

    Edwina

    ReplyDelete
  74. I would love to win this book,Enter me!
    God Bless!
    Sarah Richmond
    Blanch,N.C.
    sarahrichmond.12@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  75. Cara,

    Thanks for your insight and advice. It's something I needed to read, for sure.

    Please enter me in the drawing for your book. Would love to win it!

    Carol Nemeth
    Ranson, WV
    cnemeth@citlink.net

    ReplyDelete
  76. Would love to win your book! My email is sheliarha64@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  77. Your book has a lovely cover!
    Please enter me in your draw.
    Jan

    ReplyDelete