The Victory Dance

I have emerged from deadline hell. The curtain is down on ROMANCING THE WEST. Applause, please.

Things didn't go according to plan, in more ways than one. First of all, I gave myself six months to write this book. I didn't factor in time for promoting LASSO THE MOON, my latest release. Nor did I pad time for sub-genre adjustment. I'd just finished a contemporary women's fiction/romance in first person. RTW is a historical romance in third person. It took more than a month to get my head out of 'now' and into the American West, 1878. Oh, and there's the extra time needed for research when writing a historical piece. Right.

So, now I had four months to write the book. But I was writing in circles. I couldn't get past chapter three. I'd backed myself into a corner. How could I build romantic tension when... well, I don't want to give it away. So rewrites were in order. Figured out how to get around that set up glitch, only something felt wrong with my heroine. I didn't get her. 'We' weren't clicking. I realized she was no better than a paper doll. Cute, but one-dimensional. Why is Emily like she is? I asked myself. What makes her tick? Yes, I should have known this up front. I thought I did. But I didn't. So, I backtracked. Found out what had happened in her past. Then I needed a whole timeline, because there are mysteries and secrets in this story.

Now, I had three months to write the book. Oh, but I had to attend the RT Convention. I had to prepare for workshops and production shows. Not to mention the day job and and occasional night gigs--the bill paying jobs. Don't get me wrong. I wrote through all of this, but it was slow going.

Before I knew it I had two months until deadline. Two months to write 3/4 of the book. There was panic. There was joy. Joy because, at long last, I felt connected to every character. Panic because the characters were complex and head strong. They took off in directions I hadn't planned. Synopsis? Yeah. I had one. A really good one. But they didn't give two figs about my stinking synopsis. So I had to trust them, as well as my critique partners, Cyndi and Mary, and, of course, my own gut. BTW, A HUGE thank you to Mary for her keen eye and support and to Cyndi who brain-stormed and problem-solved her butt off!

I wrote like a mad woman, but regardless, for the first time ever, I missed my deadline. Fortunately, my publisher was very understanding. I turned in RTW today, two weeks after my official deadline. Aside from the embarrassment of being late, I am thrilled. I love this book. I envisioned a screwball comedy with a mystery. I ended up with complex characters, a mystery, suspense and humor, and a lot of HEART. Did I mention I love this book?

I don't know why this story was so difficult to get off the ground. Why it took me so long to connect. I never experienced this particular problem until this story. What I do know is that it was worth the fight. I wrestled that bear of a story to the ground and even though I'm a bit dazed, I'm doing the victory dance.

Comments

Bruno Amato said…
Beth, Congrats on finishing Romancing The West!!!!...That must be a great feeling:) Now when do you start on the next one???...Go Jersey! Bruno
Charlene Teglia said…
Hooray Beth! You deserve your victory dance.
Maureen said…
*Caddyshack gopher dance* yay! doesn't it feel nice to exhail? and this means I am this much closer to reading it! so gopher dance of happiness for me too!
FeyRhi said…
WooHoo Beth!! I'm thrilled that you are so happy with it and can't wait to read it. So what is the street date? LOL
Taylor said…
A Bravo For Beth! I am so happy for you! I am also very thrilled to hear about how satisfied you are with the novel. If anything that should come out of it, it should be that in your opinion, this is a great book. It was worth the time, worth the energy, worth the stress. Hopefully by the time it is released I will be caught up to it in your series of books (I'm going to read "Charmed" very soon).

Congrats again, Beth. I knew you could do it!
Marjorie Jones said…
WHOO HOOOO!!!! I'm sooo excited for you. And now more frightened than ever. I'm going to have a total of five weeks to write about 15 chapters. Ack! I need to find something to put my entire family in a coma for a few weeks... hmmmm..... Blockbuster cards! That's the ticket.

Huge congrats on finishing up RTW. Can't wait to see it!! *dancing with Beth*
Beth Ciotta said…
Thanks, Bruno! It does feel great. Regarding projects: I have to dive right into revisions for ALL ABOUT EVIE, my HQN 2007 release. And then directly into the sequel to that book, which will be the second in THE CHAMELEON CHROCICLES series. Life is never dull. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Thank you, Charlene. Looking forward to YOUR wild west series! :)

Gopher dancing all around. Love it, Maureen!
Beth Ciotta said…
Waving to FeyRhi :) RTW hits the stores July 2007. Somewhere between now and then I'll have revisions to do.

A huge thank you to Taylor! He recently finished reading JINXED and made me feel like a million bucks. We work together at the library, for those of you who don't know. He's an AVID reader of many genres and is writing a screenplay. :) Go, Taylor!
Beth Ciotta said…
Thanks for the shout, Marjorie! Oh, and if anyone can write 15 chapters in 5 weeks, you can. Let those fingers fly, girl. Re: family. Um, yeah. Blcokbuster cards. :)
Richard said…
Wow, what a summer you had! Congratulations!
Mary Stella said…
Dance away and celebrate, Beth. Since I'm fortunate to be your critique partner and read your books as you write them, I am uniquely qualified to say that Romancing the West is terrific. I love it and am confident that your other readers will, too!

Congratulations, my friend!
ElsieHogarth said…
Yahoo Little Lady! Congratulations on finishing RTW. The agony of NOW having to wait until July 2007 to get it into my hot little hands.
Cyn said…
Be proud, B. RTW rocks!!!!!

You constantly amaze me with your storytelling.
Jordan Summers said…
Yah!!! Congrats on finishing. I'm sure it's a huge relief. :D
Beth Ciotta said…
Summer? It was summer? :) It sorta zinged by me Richard. I live three blocks from the beach and haven't been there once this year. How sad is that? LOL

Thank you, Mary!!! I'm so glad you stuck with me through the madness. You're the best!
Beth Ciotta said…
Hiya, Elsie! Yes, the publication schedules are not what a reader would expect. Generally a book is written and turned in long before the release date. Looking forward to seeing what MP comes up with for the cover!
Beth Ciotta said…
You were/are a lifeline and an inspiration, Cyndi. Thank you for EVERYTHING!

Thank you, Jordan! I'm done! I'm done!!!
Julia Templeton said…
Hooray, you did it!
Proud of you, Beth.
Now take a breather before you jump into your next book.
Brooks said…
I agree with Julia! Isn't it time for a well deserved vacation?

After that, when is the wrap party?
Arianna Hart said…
Congratulations on writing THE END baby!!! I'm so proud of you!!!

Ari, who thinks she was nominated for the Cata award and didn't realize it until just now. . .
Roni said…
Good going Beth! I'm sure this book will be great (like all your books are). Now try to get some rest before you do any more writing!
Bethany said…
Congrats girl! Woo hoo!

Sorry I am so late in getting the news... I am in my own private deadline hell. But at least we both came out the other end happier! :-)

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