It has been a rather exciting afternoon here. This morning, after ‘sleeping on it’ as Jason Coggins suggested to me last night, I got back to work on “Kissed by the Sun.” Dave mentioned last night if I were to tinker any further with it I would do more harm than good so I did the final proof reading corrections, as brought to my attention by his red pen, and sent the story back to Russell at Ticonderoga Publications, with fingers crossed.
And within an hour the reply landed in my inbox… it would be included in Dead Red Heart in 2011. This was followed by me skipping up the corridor very loudly chanting “I’m published. I’m published.” (If you are wondering – no the thrill never wears off, and this is my first Australian publication). There is still a little work to be done on it, but it has a place!
I have gone on record in numerous places saying I “hear” the characters in my head. With this story the characters I heard were scheduled for an early death and a late entrance. So what is a girl supposed to do? I took the leap of faith and wrote it from the female protagonist’s point of view and just hoped it would be fine. Getting the green light has been the greatest relief to what felt like a creative purgatory shared with two recalcitrant female vampires who simply did not want to share.
The rewrite consisted of carving 1200 words from the word total, cutting a lot of the back story so it is implied rather than trotted out, tightening the dialogue and then finally, creating an authentic relationship between the two female vampires.
This ended up being the stumbling block. I couldn’t hear them spatting with each other. Jason pointed out the dialogue between then was very ‘vampy’ and suggested I go for the master/slave archetype rather than an actual vampire relationship. And then, when all else failed, he helped me out with the very nasty Isolda. It was almost like he heard her or ‘got her’ better than I ever could.
I honestly feel I’ve grown from living in rewrite hell and hats go off to those writers I’ve worked with this year (Dale and Paul S immediately spring to mind) who spent time there also, of varying lengths. I promise to appreciate the process far better as an editor with my writers next year having been sent there this year. (Though I will say, I hope no one has to go to an indefinite rewrite hell next year!)
My thanks go to all who helped turn the story from some random ramblings of a couple of sunburnt guys on holidays to get their rocks off to the cohesive ‘oh my god’ story it became, especially those who came in as individual cheer squads when my confidence waned.
To my beta readers Chris Chartrand, Carrie Clevenger, Dan Powell and Jason Coggins… thanks for being able to see the story I often couldn’t or missed totally; to Lily Mulholland and Paul Anderson who line edited… thanks for the razor sharp precision; and finally Stacey Larner, Kate Caston and my own Dave Harris, who proof read for me so I turned in the cleanest possible copy. Again, proof that successful writing is not a solo endeavour.
More information will be forthcoming soon regarding publication dates for this wonderful anthology of Australian vampire stories. Most of all I’m itching to know who I will be sharing the space between the covers with.
Image via Pivotal Public Speaking