One of the first stories I finished writing after graduating from college with my nifty new bachelors’ degree in creative fiction writing was a novel I called BEYOND PERFECT.
It was the fifth story I’d completed and a total of 107,000 words long about a children’s illustrator/author named Lucy who was raped in chapter one and then goes to live with her brother to recuperate, where the brother’s roommate helps her heal.
It had a little suspense, where everyone tried to discover who the rapists was, and of course, the bad guy had to come back and try to get at her one more time, though her dashing, handsome Kade (her brother’s roommate) saves her, and they live happily ever after.
In short, the story totally sucked.
I never even bothered submitting it anywhere.
That was back in 2002 (I think—okay, I’m pretty certain it was. Well, it could’ve been in 2001, I guess).
A couple of years rolled by. I wrote more stories (twelve more, in fact), and forget about Lucy and Kade for six years. Then one day in mid 2008, I don’t know why, but I opened this old document from one of my dusty computer files and start reading through it again.
It still sucked, but I decided I wasn’t going be deterred by that small, insignificant detail. I had put a lot of freaking work (or what I thought was a lot at that time) into the story.
Thus, I pulled out my handy machete (metaphorical, of course) and began to chop away. I changed Lucy to Dani (pronounced Danny) and Kade to Sam and made her share the story with her brother (who’s name I also changed from Andrew to Reed) in order for him to get a romance with his beautiful co-worker, Sophia (and she’s the only character name I never changed…Huh, strange).
There was no more suspense in version two since, in this account, Lucy’s—I mean, Dani’s—rapist was caught before chapter one even started. Plus, I added a deep painful past for both her and her brother, heaping them each with lots of childhood issues. The story theme morphed into a motivational one, where both couples learned to overcome painful pasts, ergo a title change to A TROUBLED PAST was in order. This edition was 72,000 words long.
I didn’t submit this overhaul to any publishers this time around either, but I did enter chapter one into a contest, and received some pretty dour reviews. I seriously don’t think a single judge liked it. I know, shucks, huh? But I did get one piece of good advice back from the whole disaster. I probably should make the story about just one couple…not two.
So back to the chopping board we went. Well, okay, fine, I sulked for a while first. Then I hid the story away for a couple more years, completing two full novels in the process. And THEN…back to the chopping board we went.
Delete some words, paragraphs, chapters…add some words, paragraphs, and chapters. Take out all the bedrooms scenes; then add a few bedroom scenes back in. It went from sensual, to sweet, and back to a sensual heat rating.
And on the revisions went.
Dani’s name was altered to Danni, so readers would know better how to pronounce her. Kade/Sam turned into Nic. And both of them became merely supporting characters. I deleted about ninety percent of their airtime until the manuscript shrank down to about 50,000 words at one point. Then I focused the rest of my efforts on Reed (who’s Lucy/Dani/Danni’s brother, remember) and Sophia (his co-worker), who became the star hero and heroine.
My sister suggested I tame down poor Danni’s past (she’d already been through enough torment, I guess), so I did, which beefed up poor Reed’s painful past (sorry, bud). And viola! KISS IT BETTER, a 60,000-word emotionally-packed sensual romance was born in early 2011.
So many changes.
From 2002 (or 2001) to 2011….from 107,000 to 60,000 words…from the sister’s point of view to the brother’s…from suspense to motivational romance…from BEYOND PERFECT to KISS IT BETTER, I’m so pleased to report my story finally has a home.
In the coming months, Reed and Sophia cordially invite you to witness their journey at Whispers Publishing, where they battle through a whole warehouse (forget the mere closet) full of emotional skeletons to find a pure, binding love that lasts a lifetime.
Here is your first peek at Kiss it Better. (for a blurb or excerpt, you can check out the “Kiss It Better” page on my website: http://www.lindakage.com/kiss.html)
And that’s the whole story behind my next release: Kiss it Better.