The saga behind In the Red…or wait a minute, it’s awfully late in the year for May!

First off, thanks for all the kind words, comments, and well-wishes! You guys are awesome!

So, I bet you’re wondering how a short e-book that was supposed to be out in May, then got moved to the end of July, suddenly ended up becoming a novel that’s out now.

As a writer and a generally artistic person, I will admit to having those moments that could make others wonder about my sanity. I’m not saying that my characters suddenly come into being and stalk me, but sometimes they definitely want their way. I had edited the short version (around 8K) and was going to tweak a couple of things when…

Okay, I absolutely hate this explanation so let me preface this. It did NOT come to me in a dream. I’m fine with stories being inspired by dreams, but after a certain franchise being talked up that it was all because of a dream, I’ve grown to hate that explanation. And it’s not entirely accurate. I had woken up, was laying in bed trying to figure out what was bothering me about the story, trying to put my finger on what exactly I needed to fix.

It suddenly occurred to me that the ending was all wrong. Originally I had ended it much sooner (and darker), and although I am the first to say that I don’t need things tied in a neat little bow…I just felt like it was too cruel. It was too…superficial maybe; it showed how badass I could be as a writer, sure, but was it fair to the protagonist? I hadn’t really given him an opportunity to grow, to change, to truly fall hard, and truly get back up and move forward. Thankfully NBP gave me a chance to revamp the manuscript into what I really wanted it to be (Of course at the time I thought that meant a novella. Then a short novel. Then I realized I hadn’t a clue what was going on and I let my keyboard take the wheel).

Thus started a six-week period where I didn’t sleep at all.

Okay, I did here and there, but I seriously went through major Zzz deprivation adding, polishing, fixing, and revamping it all. I went to work, got home, ate, stayed up until 5 AM writing, then caught a few hours of sleep and did it all again. And again. And again. I would like to apologize to everyone who talked to me during that time period, because I probably was nowhere near in my right mind.

And every time I thought “okay, I’m going to be able to finish this tomorrow and send it back for more edits” I got more ideas. And more. And more. I finally got it to a place I liked, turned it in, got the edits back….and still wasn’t satisfied. So I edited it not just for grammar/formatting, but I also went back three more times with a fine-toothed comb and edited for continuity, looks, and added in more sleaze ball behavior.

Seriously I’m a little scared for anyone who knows me to read this because they’re going to see me as a perverted lunatic.

But it was necessary given the lifestyle my characters were living, and the kinds of core personalities they were. Besides, you can’t exactly embrace the light unless you’ve been surrounded by the dark.

After finessing, adding, polishing, tweaking, beating my passive verb habit into submission with a sledgehammer, and shattering compound sentences left and right, I finally had something to be proud of. And then I found out that it was preferred that my original  band names/album names/etc not be anything that actually existed, and I descended into google hell.

Here’s a fun game. Come up with a dark rock band name. It can be anything. Just think of something right now. Now google it to see if it exists. Then do it again. And again. And again. That was three good weeks of my life. But finally, finally everything was in order and I was done.  You know what else is fun? Doing edits when you have a broken comma key and have to cut and paste every comma in a 100K manuscript.

And then as soon as I turned it in I freaked out because I thought of things I could have done or added to make it just that much more interesting.  By that point, though, it was time to let it go. I don’t think a piece is ever truly done, per say. I’m always going to find things I wish I would’ve improved on, or areas where I feel like I could have gotten just a slightly different feel. And that’s okay. That’s life.  At some point you have to let your baby go out into the world, whether it’s a child or a manuscript.

Despite my fretting, I know it’s all going to be okay. I happened to be driving the other day, wondering if I had really gotten things as good as I could, when Freebird came on the radio. For those who read the book, that’s a running joke with my lead character. I usually flip the station when it comes on, but for once I listened to it all the way through, and I had to smile. Yeah, it’s out of my hands now, but I have the feeling that it’s going to have a pretty good life of its own.


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