Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Journey to Happiness - Writer Style

Call me crazy, but I enjoy editing my work.

Book one of my Juliet Harrison series was a monster, though. It's first draft is nothing like what is published. It was also what I sent to agents. I regret that, because in the back of my mind, I always felt the book could be better.

My father-in-law Rick and I spent hours upon hours going through book one - cutting out large chunks of exposition, rewriting scenes between characters. The original version was 282 pages. We knocked it down twenty. But I still wasn't happy with it.

So I printed out the whole book , spread it out on my floor, and on my hands and knees, I went through it again with a pen and the urge to 'x'out large portions. And I did. I removed twenty more pages, dropping the total to 232. While I succeeded in making the book a faster read, I hadn't gotten rid of that feeling that the book could be better.

Almost to the end of that second draft's editing, I came to a relatively easy decision to make. I would throw the whole thing out and start over.

I wrote the final version of book one in 34 days. I've never written a book in so short a time. It helped knowing where this one was going, but I had different goals in mind. I wanted to develop the characters. I wanted to better explore their interactions, and I wanted them to be human. They had to get frustrated, angry, happy, scared, and sad.

I had to make this book perfect, to smooth out all plot-holes, check for grammar mistakes, misspellings, and I needed to allow each scene to be given its proper time in the spotlight.

I may have missed a few typos in the ebook version, but I've never been more proud of 'These Chains that Bind'. I'm happy with it, happier than I've ever been. I'm satisfied that I created a realistic world with characters you would see in your own lives. Finally - finally - I'm proud of this book.

The journey to its completion has taken two years, countless editings, and hours upon hours upon hours of self-induced stress. But I can live with that, because this book wouldn't be what it is without ALL of that. It's stronger for the trials I went through. And I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

If you like the book, please leave a review.

Look for me on twitter: kt_swartz
And for my author page on Facebook: KT Swartz

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Self-publishing my book is the only way I got published. I don't know why. I compared my sentence structure with that of bestsellers. I read dozens of books on how to write and how the successful authors acheived their dreams.

And after a few attempts at submitting my work to agents, I began to wonder if maybe I didn't know as much as I thought I did about writing. Maybe the quality of my work wasn't good enough. That theme of 'not good enough' ran ruts through my brain. It forced me to take a good hard look at book one of my Juliet Harrison series; I edited it and cut pages out of it; I smoothed over plotholes and moved scenes around. But while I made it a faster read, I realized I'd only cut out its heart and left behind all the parts I didn't like.

With no other path before me, I decided to scrap the whole book and start over. These Chains that Bind went through not a revision but a complete rewrite, with only 20-30 pages culled from its first drafts. Now, I am proud of my manuscript. Its heart is beating stronger than it was.

I'm thinking about submitting it to agents again, but right now Amazon Kindle is treating me rather well.