I was sitting at my computer, minding my own business (well sort of, I was on facebook so I suppose I was tending to a lot of business) when I got the message. I am friends with many authors on facebook, both from a writer’s standpoint and a stalker standpoint. This author is a mix of both. She has generously devoted her time and attention to helping me and I am always grateful. And then she pulls this!
“How would you like to be credited for providing a couple of paragraphs in [insert actual title here, redacted because it is a secret]? “
So naturally I fainted… Then when I came back to reality I read on…
“The first [redacted] Chapter has them going back to his place to make out. Nothing real steamy, but I hate writing even make out scenes.”
Now to be clear, it isn’t that she couldn’t do it, it is just stabbing people is more her thing. And this is as it should be. As a well-known and widely read murder writer she has built a rather large reputation on this.
The kissy bits! The kissy bits! Oh now I can actually do that. Not sure how good I would be at the murder, but the sex, bah, I got this. So I instantly reply back…
“I think I can do it.” Confidence, yeah I got it *geeeze*
I continue to ask things of importance like “Do you have the bones of it?”
I was thinking that if she sends me a rough outline I can make it all sappy.
“This is what I have: he gently ran his fingers along her jaw line. That’s it. Nothing else. I can’t write the murder scene without the make out scene.”
Now I have read many of her “killer” chapters. They are thick and well put together and eye popping as they progress. Now I start to panic. There is no way I can create her villain properly, I don’t know anything: the setting, the circumstances, all I have is a name! Great, now I am going to let her down and she will cut all ties, never to talk to me again (see I ooze confidence and self esteem, Stick with me and you can too) I send out a few more frantic questions about setting and scene before I go out on a limb and message her my number. That is right, an actual phone number where *ACK* we will theoretically speak in person. My fingers hit send and before I can take it all back my phone rings.
Our conversation goes impressively well, I did not faint, stammer or stutter. I managed to gather enough information to have a clear vision of what she wanted and where to take things. She is wanting a couple of paragraphs, but this Romeo needs a couple of pages to get there. With brilliant lines like “He could feel the heat coming off of her as her passion rose, his hand inching it way to the promised land.” Where could I go wrong? Yes I seriously wrote that… Yes I seriously laughed as I did… Yes I assume it will be deleted, but my task was put before me and you must pull out all stops. Right? Whatever, that is what the delete button is made for, stop judging me.
So while it is all fresh in my head I put the pages down. I read through it a few times, tweaking it here and there for flow and content, adding in a few lines to make you feel like this man is all a girls heart could desire, right before we reach into the couch and pull out the knife. And that is where I stop. See I only have to write the kissy bits. *whew* I may be able to put the knife in his hand, but I am pretty sure I will chicken out before he guts her. I am a big sissy, you are right. But hey, I kinda like this, I actually think I might have nailed it!
Confidence at an all time high I foolishly hit send on the document, and then instantly regret it. WAIT I am supposed to wait, reread later and kill all the issues, WHAT HAVE I DONE! I impatiently wait for a reply and nothing… dead silence. Ugg, I am the worst at waiting for feedback. I messenger her to let her know that the file is ready and she informs me that she is out of the house and will read it in a bit.
A BIT??!! I am gonna need a beer or ten. I relentlessly send her silly messages, pestering her to the point that I am certain she now regrets ever asking in the first place.
Hours later (I am actually in bed by this point, husband snoring beside me) I get a message back:
“Magnificent! A few slight changes (her breath catches a few too many times for me and I’m not sure what it think of the line: He could feel the heat coming off of her… but I’m also not sure it needs to be removed… I’ll check it after I finish the scene). I absolutely <3 <3 <3 <3 the line: now that he had her he was never going to let her go. It sounds so tender and romantic, like someone finding true love and it’s actually about her murder. Pure genius! I will add the rest of the chapter and we can do a little more word smithing if you feel it necessary, but I actually like it a lot.”
Luckily I am already laying down, so things go easier as I try not to squeal and wake the hubby. A few more messages back and forth assure me that we have hit our target. Somehow I managed to calm down and get some sleep.
The first book I ever sent to an editor was one huge hot mess (and is still a hot mess locked in a closet) I was missing a whole lot of “craft” and there were many things I needed to sort out before I went any further with my writing (Like yes, books actually need plots prior to you writing them) There were a million comments that were derogatory (this editor pulled no punches) but one actual complement in the entire manuscript.
“Well I will give you this, you can really write a sex scene, and it still manages to move the plot forward.”
So yippee… talent confirmed. I guess this is why my first published book didn’t come out until after mom passed, now we don’t have to talk about that over the Thanksgiving turkey.