Don’t Look Back

Scotland in the Monsoon Season 033-001January gets its name from the Roman god Janus, who is traditionally depicted with two faces – one looking forward into the future and one looking back at what has already happened. As a self published author, I have taken Janus as my totem as I work on my second novel and have added my own catch phrase: Don’t Look Back.

As a new writer I took the advice to “polish, polish, polish those first three chapters,” too literally and spent months revising, editing and adapting my novel without finishing it. I harboured the mistaken belief that one could send out those first three immaculate chapters to an agent, or present them to an editor at a writers’ conference and wait to have one’s hand snapped off.

2012-04-25 11.58.03In this crazy stop-start fashion, it took me two years to complete Tall, Dark and Kilted (writing 70k in year one and the final 50k the following year.) I should have had the confidence to plough right on to the end to produce a ‘dirty’ draft or first edit instead of revising and editing as I went along. That would have given me a better idea of the arc of the story and I wouldn’t have spent hours writing scenes which I later jettisoned. I dread to think how many highlighting pens I wore out, the countless pages of the thesaurus I turned searching for the apt phrase, the pithy remark when I should have concentrated on keeping the narrative going.

I have learned my lesson. Honest, Guv, I have!

2012-07-011My current novel now stands at 80, 000 words and I have resisted the temptation to go back and edit. Now, if I can’t think if a word, phrase or an emotion – I simply highlight the gap/omission to fill in later. I should finish my first ‘dirty draft’ by late spring 2013, ready to submit to the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. After receiving my critique, I will make any necessary revisions and send the polished ms to be formatted for Kindle and Create Space by a professional, and have my cover designed.

If everything goes according to plan, I should have the paperback proof to read through for typos etc by the middle of September at the latest. Do-able? I have a photo of my old pal Janus blue tacked to the window near my desk spurring me on, just in case I slip back into my old ways.

 

I’d love to know how you approach writing and completing your novel. Do share . . .

 

 

About Lizzie Lamb

I write contemporary women's fiction mostly based in Scotland with hot heroes, feisty heroines and always a happy ending. Along with three other authors - Adrienne Vaughan, June Kearns and Margaret Cullingford - I formed the New Romantics Press under which all our books are published.

Posted on April 1, 2013, in Lizzie's Scribbles and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Love the new website Lizzie. Did you do it? Congratulations on the new novel
    Boot Camp Bride. Great title. Looking forward to the launch. Well done all four
    of you!

    Like

    • Good morning Cathy, you are having quite a busy time yourself. Regarding the website, Nettie Thompson of Meldrum Media created the website and – luckily – puts my posts up here for me once I’ve written them. Nettie also created and maintains the NR4 site; money well spent in my opinion. I’ve had the website since March but have only got round to launching it this weekend. Mad, eh? Thanks for popping by, though.

      Like

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