Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

Latest news from Australian romance author Ally Blake, writer of fun, fresh flirty romance novels.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

between the sheets: writing is rewriting

I've spent some time over the past days writing the same scene - Hud and Kendall's second meet - over and over again.

Mostly it came down to having written the beginning of the scene and then going away with my Alphasmart without a copy of thew file and having no idea exactly what point I was up to ;) so in order to get the flow right I just had to start the chapter again. This may feel a sound redundant. But I have not found it to be so.

In the rewriting - not editing, but actually typing the words "Chapter Two" and starting the whole scene afresh with no preconceived notion of where it has to go - I let my muse take off into the pine forest between Hud's house and Kendall's home town sending them in several differnt directions until I stumbled upon the right tone, the right mix of tension and interest and pulling away, and just the right language to set the mood I am trying to invoke.

Some writers can't move on until their last page is spot on. Natasha Oakley writes that way - and her books are gorgeous so maybe that's a good plan! Others write fast all the way to the end and have a short book which they then layer and edit. Nicola Marsh has a really good idea of where she's going, and she writes fast - so fast in fact it makes the rest of us whimper - and I think that produces a really clean book. Her books always feel like they were writtten in one sitting, they flow beautifully, the mood is spot on throughout and they feel sooo natural, which is a skill I just looooove!

I'm somewhere in between.

I write fast, flying into the mist as they say with no idea what will happen next, until I run out of puff. Once I hit the end of a scene, I re-read and tinker, making sure the language is right, the information revealed in the best way, the pace and tone consistent. At this stage I'm never too precious. A lot can happen in the writing of a book. Threads develop, others fade to dust. So many more pieces of the puzzle will be revealed to me as I write the book that I will have no choice but to go back later and delete scenes, rework them, move them. I have had to add in and delete whole chapters in my final edits. And if I spent three days getting one sentence just right, it would be all that much harder to pull it if the need came.

I think the more practice you have, the more you get it right the first time too. But if and when I do get stuck, on a dodgy word, paragraph, chapter I highlight the whole thing in yellow and simply get on with the story. Either onto the next scene, or write a scene later in the book just to get my muse flexible again.

So long as the words keep coming, there is always time to shape the book later on.

recent progress:

I wrote 5000 words on Alphie over the weekend and did much of the preparation on my upcoming library talks! Phew. That's some big relief. For dates check out my website.

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end',

check out the whole Between the Sheets series

And for more fun check out: Trish Wylie's "Book With Trish", Nicola Marsh is blogging about the very fast writing of her next Modern Extra, Anne McAllister is currently waxing lyrical about world-building on eHarlequin, where Natasha Oakley is chatting about her writing process all month too.