It may take me a year or two or even ten before I get it! What I've understood this week is the place of unpleasant events.
I've been thinking about revamping three chapters of a novel that was turned down for being 'too racy' a situation, and also for having too much tragedy to begin with. Basically it's about a wild child who has a near death experience when her plane crashes and then, disguised as a nun, she has to go through the jungle with the hero and two children and they meet terrorists and...
As usual I huffed and puffed over the criticism (stupid editor - if the tragedy didn't happen, my heroine wouldn't have been alone in the jungle with a gorgeous man!) and slung it in a drawer. Yesterday, feeling miserable with a tooth infection I curled up in a chair with a chick lit novel and a pile of antibiotics. I didn't enjoy the book - and one of the things I didn't like was....too many unpleasant events! After all, Jane Austen managed to write riveting novels without dragging in cardboard violence to ramp up the tension, didn't she?
And then I realised I was objecting to this book on the same grounds that my romance, Blessing in Disguise, was turned down for. And I suddenly got it! I totally understand what the editor meant. The next question is what to do about it? And only an hour's thought solved the problem. Suppose the nun and the pilot didn't die, but were too poorly to trek through the jungle so stayed with the plane. As well as softening the tragedy, that gives me an unresolved question: will they be saved, and a better reason for my wild heroine to be disguised as a nun - it isn't my wild child who worries about being alone with a man, it's the surviving nun who begins the deception and makes the heroine promise to continue it.
Yes, editors do know best! I'm going to revamp the first three chapters and try them on Little Black Dress.