By Author Kelli A. Wilkins
One day after working in the yard, I stood back and took a look at my handiwork. I had just finished pruning my lilacs and weeding a huge flowerbed. Everything seemed to be glowing and vibrating with a renewed energy. The yard looked better and felt better.
I always feel kinda bad about cutting back the lilacs, but then I thought, “The pruning needs to be done, otherwise everything gets overgrown and suffocated.”
Then it dawned on me that I’ve been doing the same thing with my writing—pruning and weeding what’s been long overgrown.
For the last two years I’ve been in a cycle of re-releasing my romances previously published by Amber Quill Press (while writing new books). I’m rediscovering the stories and characters after being away from them for many years. Each book is being revised, re-edited, and in some cases, parts are completely rewritten.
I’ve deleted scenes that no longer work, added new ones, and given each story a pruning—of dialogue tags, excess words, too many exclamation points, and yanking other weeds that need pulling from these gardens. As a result, the books are stronger and better than ever. (And most have fabulous new covers.)
If you’re editing a short story or a novel, ask yourself, “What is necessary to this scene? What can I cut?” You might be amazed to find that tightening a scene or a chapter makes it stronger and helps the story flourish in the long run.
But I’m not stopping my “pruning” process with my books. I’m also weeding out other things in my writing world that are overgrown and need to go—old market guidelines, bits and pieces of story ideas that I no longer need, short romance stories that never went anywhere… the list goes on. I’ve sorted through about a hundred file folders and recycled bins full of paper. And I’ve extended this to my electronic world by deleting unnecessary files and updating my blog and website.
It’s refreshing to have less stuff to maintain. I now have a clearer path to what I want to work on next, and I’m not bogged down with clutter or overwhelmed by “writing weeds.”
Each spring, I ask myself a few questions about my flowerbeds: What do I want to plant? Where? What died off over the winter that needs to be replaced? I’m asking these types of questions about my writing life too, wondering: What do I want to write next? Do I want to go back to writing horror stories for a while? Finish my next three romance novels? Should I take some time off from writing?
I don’t have all the answers yet, but I’ll sit in the garden and think about them!
Writing a novel or a short story is a lot like planting a flowerbed. First, you need an idea or a basis for the story (a place where you’ll plant). Then you start the hard work, writing the book (digging and planting). After your first draft is finished (your flowers are blooming), you have to edit and revise your work (weed and prune as needed!). Once that’s all done, you’ll move on to marketing your story (inviting friends over to see your flowers).
Writing and gardening take time, energy, and commitment, but in the long run, the results are worth it. After a long day, you can sit back and admire all your hard work.
Enjoy the summer!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.
Her third gay romance, Four Days with Jack, was released in June 2017. Kelli’s trilogy of erotic romance novellas, Midsummer Night’s Delights, Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights was published in spring 2017.
Loving a Wild Stranger was published in January 2017. This historical/pioneer romance is set in the wilds of the Michigan Territory and blends tender romance with adventure.
Kelli’s third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption was released in September 2016. This spicy historical western is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877.
Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.
She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/.
CATCH UP WITH KELLI
Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Medallion Press Author Page: http://medallionpress.com/author/kelli-wilkins/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins
Facebook Historical Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/
Facebook Contemporary Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Contemporary-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1965702023664339/
Facebook Gay Romances: https://www.facebook.com/GayRomancesbyKelliAWilkins/