Make Readers Believe

I read a quote this morning from author Anne Enright.

Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die. – Anne Enright

Image

I love motivational sayings. When I read this, I thought, “great idea.” But, I’d like to change it a bit. In 10 weeks time, I will be unable to write. Not by death, but something else. I don’t even have to use the same thought each day. Since my time is limited, I must complete my novel now. No more taking tons of time to perfect it.

In 10 weeks time, aliens will visit the planet and they will do something to the planet and we will have no electricity. So, I will not be able to use the computer. Man will no longer be able to make paper, so it will be a controlled resource I will not be able to use.

In 10 weeks time, I will be in a plane crash and will be on a deserted island, and will not be able to write. (Yeah, Robinson Crusoe)

In 10 weeks time, make up a new reason.

The thing is, for this to work, I must play with my mind enough, that I actually feel like I will NOT be able to write after the deadline. So, could this work? When I write, I must write well enough to make readers believe the characters and setting is real in order for them to enjoy my story. If I can’t make myself believe, how can I make total strangers believe in my made up worlds?

Ten weeks from today is January 27, 2014. That is later than my previous deadline of December 31. I’m going to stick to that.

I will finish my story by December 31, because on January 1st all of my destined readers will catch a brain disease and their taste in books will change. They will no longer want to read a romance, they will want to read horror, and no one will want to read my story. If I make my deadline, this disease will be cured before contracted.

 

I’m happy to be a loser

I can think of a million cliched sayings, When one door closes, another opens. When one door closes, look for an escape window.

Last month I entered Harlequin’s SYTYCW competition. No, I didn’t final in the top 50.

As all the other entrants probably did, I got my hopes up. I put in hours and hours plotting and writing that novel. I read and read numerous Harlequin Superromance novels. Okay, it wasn’t torturous, I enjoyed it. Yes, I’ll continue to read them. 🙂

After I learned I didn’t final, I was bummed for a few days. This was my baby. Their dismissal was equivalent to being slapped down. Hard.

A door didn’t magically open, so I sat back down with my novel and read it. I knew it wasn’t perfect. There were a few tweaks needed in the middle of the story and the end needed work. But, the first chapter had been perfect, the best chapter ever including every novel ever written throughout history. Okay, so it wasn’t. But I admit that is how I felt the morning I entered it in SYTYCW.

I printed the first chapter and sat down with a red pen. Minor changes in the first two pages, but the third page I was shocked to see I could delete quite a bit of ‘fluff’. Details that were relevant to the story, but could be held off until later. I had conflict, but the way it read, I really went for the jugular. It was a bit overboard.

I now think this story isn’t suited to Harlequin’s Superromance. I had to much character conflict. Harlequin likes the sense of family and happiness. My story has that, but not in the beginning. There’s also a villian in my story.

Even though I lost, I am improving my story and it will be published later by someone else. Who is that, you may ask. I’ll know one day soon. Either way, it will be better for losing Harlequin’s SYTYCW.