Step away from the manuscript…

I completed the revisions on my 27th book at midnight Sunday. The manuscript was due on my editor’s desk the next morning. Thank heavens for e-mail, right? But, I am not a last-minute, thrill-of-the-crunch-time, adrenalin junkie. Not even close. So what went wrong this time, with this book?

The book’s title is THE GOOD PROVIDER and will be out this fall. But I’m calling it my P.T.S.D. book. (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). I wrote it immediately after my sister’s death. Immediately after my grueling summer of watching her die. Not only was on contract with a committed deadline, I told myself work was my escape. I liked thinking I was finally in a place where I had some say in the outcome of someone’s life. In this case, my hero and heroine. That well-promised HEA called to me.

BUT, what I didn’t fully take into account was where my head and heart was in the grieving process. I’ve worked through sad times before. I figured this would be no different. But it was.

My wonderful editor didn’t come right out and say, “What the hell were you thinking?” She’s far too kind, but I could hear her exasperation in the imbedded comments of her revision notes. The problem stemmed from the obvious disconnect I’d created between the story and the characters. They were/are interesting, complex people with great heart and intensity; yet, I’d reduced them to actors on stage, sleepwalking through their roles.

In hindsight, I’m not surprised. I’d created that same disconnect across the board in my life–family, friends, online communites. I think that’s not untypical of PTSD. In hindsight, I probably should have “stepped away from my manuscript” until the fog lifted.

Well, guess what? The fog’s gone, now, let me tell you. Nothing like a few 14-hr days chained to your chair to whip you into shape. LOL.

The good news is: I, now, like this book again. I feel as though I finally know Daria and William. I picture them shaking their heads at me. Working with a sleepwalking writer  must have been frustrating for them, too. 😉

So…the book is done. It’s soooo much better. And I’m headed to town for a massage. Yippee!!!  I really, really need one.

Now, to offset this dry, reflective, totally writer-stuff topic, here’s a picture of  my father-in-law, Milt, who is visiting from South Dakota. He’s 86. I told him he’s famous, now. (Just play along, okay?)

Milt and friend

Have a great week, everyone.


5 Replies to “Step away from the manuscript…”

  1. So glad you have been able to come through what was a horrible time for you and find your joy in writing again. Love the picture of Milt and friend. Of course he famous now….his picture is on the web. He looks like he would be a fun person to know.

  2. The bear doesn’t look so sure about biting a famous person!

    I can only imagine what you went through since we all have our own way to grieve (which is why I never tell anyone I know what they are going through because I really don’t), but I’m sure your editor understood where your mind was. And I’m sure William and Daria (love the name!) understood too!

    Do you think this book holds more meaning for you because of the time you were writing it?

    And 27 books – an accomplishment to be very proud of!

    p.s. I am reading His Daddy’s Eyes right now.

  3. Oh, you guys are so great. Thanks. I haven’t shown Milt his photo, yet, but he’s going get a kick out of it.

    Ellen, my editor was very understanding and supportive. When I apologized for how awful the first draft was, she told me it wasn’t as bad as I thought. All the pieces were there, we simply couldn’t see them as well as she’d like. That was nice.

    Marcie, it’s true that everyone handles grief differently. I thought I was okay, but my brain didn’t the get the memo.

    I love HIS DADDY’S EYES. One of my faves.

    BTW, my massage was fabulous!!! I highly recommend it. I feel so much healthier, and my body isn’t quite as mad at me for torturing it.


  4. It’s only Wednesday and I’ve read yesterday’s mail

    I’d say your reaction to watching your sister’s last days is very normal. Everyday life is just something you watch go by and not really participate in but thinking you are and maybe even fooling some into thinking you are too.

    I’m glad you were able to straighten out your book and it was done with much love we know.

    My goodness I can’t believe 27 already! I remember meeting you at a signing of your second book or was it your first THAT COWBOY’S KIDS? Was it HIS DADDY’S EYES? I think it was HDE. Whatever it’s been a pleasure reading your books as well as knowing you.

  5. Barbs, you’ve had a pretty rough year, too, no? Tis the time of our lives, I fear.

    I remember meeting you, too. It was so amazing to meet people who actually went out of their way to come and meet me because they liked my books. Still quite a thrill.

    They say there are four seasons of grief. I have a photo to share next week about Spring.


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