Focusing a Murky Story

I really wanted to capture how these 4 o’clocks glow in the evening light – their luminosity – but then the focus isn’t crisp. It makes me wonder if it’s always a trade-off between the two.

I’ve been working up the third story in the newly christened Facets of Passion series, which started with Sapphire (last October), continues with Platinum (out in February) and will culminate with Ruby. Normally I wouldn’t have started on this third novella yet, keeping to my established rotation. (And because I need to work on RP2 for all of you bugging me for it!) But Editor Deb asked me to work up a polished partial and a synopsis for her, with an eye to bundling the three books. Very exciting! This is something you only get to do after you’ve proven yourself to your editor and your press.

She’s so funny, because she asked how long it would take me to do that and I said, it depends on the amount of partialness she’s looking for – and I assured her that is, indeed, a word. She told me she told me she needed 20-30 pages of extra sparkly partialness. I love her.

So, at any rate, I’ve been working up Ruby. Even though each story involves different characters, and different emotional arcs, they are intertwined for me, thematically. Ruby is a kind of culmination of the three. (Though I do have an idea for Book 4.) I know this is part of me being a character-driven writer, who doesn’t really plot ahead, but some stories just feel “murkier” than others. The characters in Ruby are more complex people in many ways, with layers of “psychological candy,” as CP Carolyn Crane just put it.

It took me longer than it should have, to work up these sparkly pages – maybe because I felt more pressure, knowing I couldn’t just spin along with the story to see what happened. I reworked the opening several times. The whole thing felt a little formless still. Out of focus But I sent it to the CPs for feedback, cringing, waiting for them to ask me WTF I’m doing.

And they say it’s working!!

Funny how, as a writers, sometimes you just can’t tell.

But Carolyn just told me she thought this is a super strong book shaping up. Which is so good to know. Laura said “very complex and fun stuff!” Marcella just wants more. This all reassured me that the luminosity is there, shining through – and the comments they gave me are helping me to focus it.

Maybe I *can* have both.

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