I have my first major update of my pending novels for 2017. As I announced last year, one of my books, “Passion Relapse,” was accepted by a publisher. It’s an exciting development for me in my efforts to become a published writer. It also starts a much more arduous process that every aspiring writer must endure and that’s edits.
I knew this going in. It’s something that is destined to put a few dents in your ego, among other things. When you write a story, even one you put your heart and soul into, it’s going to be flawed. It’s going to need revisions. Some are extremely extensive revisions. Some take it as an affront to their work, as though anyone who dares to question its quality is no better than someone who hits them in the shin with a baseball bat.
When you’re trying to make a career of something, you can’t assume right off the back that you’re that good. With everything I write, no matter how much effort I put into it, I assume it’s mediocre at best and crap at worst. I accept that it needs revisions and polish. I’ve had to do a lot of that on my own, sometimes with help of an editor. With “Passion Relapse,” though, I have a more official process for revising my work.
Over the past weekend, I received the first round of edits for my manuscript. Keep in mind, this is a manuscript I already revised before, having rewritten the entire ending at the request of the publisher. The editor from the publisher already told me this is just the first round. That means I can expect this manuscript to undergo some pretty extensive revisions that are sure to reveal just how far I have to go.
The first round of edits certainly implied I had room for improvement. My editor revealed some rather unflattering tendencies I have in my writing, namely the kind you really can’t pick up on by yourself. No matter how good you think you are at something, you’re always going to be somewhat blind to your flaws. I’m certainly no exception.
With this first round of edits, I got a feel for the sheer breadth of my flaws. They’re definitely there. They definitely undermined the overall quality of the story. I still believe in the value of that story and so does the publisher. It’s the refinements that need work and I’m willing to work with my editor to complete those refinements.
However, in doing so, I’ve gained a greater understanding of the skills I need to improve for future novels. Make no mistake. I have many ideas for future novels. I’ve been holding off on a few because I want to learn something from this editing process to make future submissions easier. One skill, in particular, stands out among the others and it’s kind of an important skill for my genre.
I need to write better sex scenes.
I know. That sounds like a hell of an oversight for someone who identifies as an erotica/romance writer. Struggling with that is like being a horror writer, but not being able to write scenes that scare people. That’s a big freakin’ deal for me and I need to be better.
Specifically, my editor revealed that I’m a bit too analytical with my scenes. I spend too much time describing what’s actually happening and not enough on the actual emotions involved. That matters because one part is sexy and the other isn’t. People tend to get more turned on by what people do with their genitals than mere descriptions of said genitals.
I’ve also learned that I need to make sure the actions I describe are linked to the characters. What I mean by that is sometimes I tend to describe body parts or actions that have a mind of their own. There are times when that works, but most of the time it doesn’t. For the story I’m writing in “Passion Relapse,” it’s not really a scenario that applies.
While this is pretty striking for an aspiring erotica/romance writer, I’m glad someone pointed it out. That’s not to say I agree with everything my editor told me, but I do see plenty of merit in improving my craft. If it means my novels contain hotter, sexier content, then I’m willing to put in that extra work.
For now, I’m done with the first round of edits. I’m now waiting for the second round. I don’t entirely know what that entails yet, but I’ll be sure to provide updates as more details come in. I want to make “Passion Relapse” as great a book as possible. That means making it as sexy as possible. For that, I’m willing to do my part.