Why Can’t I Write Like That?

I’m a member of a group on Facebook that is composed of some phenomenal romance writers. Some of these romances writers write contemporary romances, other write historical, and a few write both. Some of them are USA best-selling authors. It seems that every other month, one or more of these lovely ladies are announcing a new book release. One of them announced three releases in less than a month.
I don’t write as fast as some of these ladies can. I am nowhere near as prolific as they are. Part of me wishes I could be. But for me, putting the words onto the page (or the computer monitor) is a battle. A battle to find the right words. A battle to keep from using the same phrase over and over (my current “favorite,” according to my editor at The Wild Rose Press, seems to be “a moment” for revealing a brief passage of time). A battle to keep from writing the same characters over and over, just changing the window dressing (hair and eye color and sometimes height). Part of me wishes I could have a backlist of ten, fifteen, twenty books in a year from now.
But, when I chose to sign with The Wild Rose Press, I knew that a backlist like that would be impossible for a few years. I knew there would be a lengthy editorial process, a give and take between me and my wonderful editor, Anne Duguid, at TWRP. There would be galleys to read through (at least two rounds of galley reviews), and then when we both signed off on the final galley, the wait in the production que. And, even with this editorial process and review, mistakes still manage to make their way into the final manuscript. There is a typo in The Devil’s Own Desperado and a HUGE glaring mistake in Smolder on a Slow Burn that even the research editor missed. However, only one person has noticed this mistake—or at least commented on it to me in a private message. I still don’t know how I missed that mistake in every single read through of the manuscript. But, all this give and take, this reading and re-reading of the manuscript, of the galleys, means that when that book finally comes out with my name on the cover and the tag “Published by The Wild Rose Press” it’s the very best we could have made it.
Just the other day, one of the authors I follow and am friends with on Facebook put out a call to her followers for a quick read through of her latest novel—find the mistakes, the plot holes, the inconsistency with the characters. But it had to be done in the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours, because the book was slated to go live in seventy-hours. She had already sent the manuscript to her hired editor and gotten it back.
Wait. What????
How can anyone read a book with an eye for that kind of close reading, much less how can an author make the necessary changes in that time frame?
Maybe, I’m a perfectionist and the thought of pushing a manuscript out the door in that kind of a time frame makes me break out in hives. I know what I go through just to get the rough draft of a manuscript written and the time I need to put that manuscript away so I can look at it later with a critical eye. I know when I type “The End” on the last page of a manuscript, I’m still very much in love with the characters and the words I’ve used to describe them and their journey to “happily ever after.” A few months later, I still love the characters—but the words I’ve used and the manner I’ve put those words together into a cohesive (or not) manner to reveal their journey into the sunset, not so much.
Maybe, I’m too afraid to fail at this writing gig to go out on a limb and push out two and three novels in a year (or a month). One bad book with a few bad reviews and my writing career is over.
Or, maybe, I just love my characters too much to ever push out a romance novel that won’t show the world in the best possible manner how wonderful they really are.
Something to think about. And, then, I’m going to look into self-publishing. Under an assumed name. In a different genre. So if I fall flat on my face, I won’t bring shame to the characters I’ve already shared with the world.

2 thoughts on “Why Can’t I Write Like That?”

  1. Ruby, I don’t know about being in your head–but this topic has been driving me ’round the bend for several months now. And, apparently, I’m not the only one that this trend to publish as many titles as possible in the shortest amount of time possible is bothersome for. As I wrote…how much insight can there really be in a quick read-through that needs to be back to the author in 24 to 48 hours? Close reading? Not happening.


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