by Laura Drake
It’s been about two months since I wrote my post about writing two books at the same time (you can read it here.) The only thing I’d change about my original advice is, do not work on two books at the same time that are at the same level of completion.
I’m now in the horrid, sagging, interminable middle of two books. It’s like traveling from NY to London in a rowboat -- I may be getting somewhere, but it sure doesn’t feel like it! I think in the future, I’d do it again, if I were in the first third on one, and the last third on the other. It gives you something to look forward to.
But that’s not what this blog is about.
This blog is about resurrecting your ‘Dust Bunny’ book. You know, your first, or second book. The one you started because it called to you – the idea that wouldn’t die. So you wrote it, learning along the way. Maybe you even shopped it, but it didn’t sell (mine went out to 150 agents!)
So you put it under the bed.
I don’t know about yours, but mine was like Poe’s Telltale Heart – it kept calling to me. I mean, I lived the longest with this book. I felt like I could drive to Widow’s Grove, and visit Sam, and her dog, Bugs (oh wait, the original dog’s name was Rocky.)
I hate the trite term, ‘Book of my heart,’ but I’ll admit, that’s what this book was for me.
So, when my agent asked me, in that first phone call, what else I had, I mentioned my Dust Bunny Book. She liked the premise and asked to see it. After the excitement wore off, I panicked.
Holy crap, what had I done?
I wasn’t sure. I hadn’t looked at it in years. So I pulled it out, and dusted it off. The plot wasn’t too bad. The heroine was awesome. The craft needed a bit of work (I'd written it pre-Margie Lawson.)
But for the Love of Stud Muffins – the HERO! I was red-faced, reading his preachy dialog, his clueless shallow personality. Why the heck would my heroine ever fall in love with a loser like that? He was the literary equivalent of a Ken doll, all hair and teeth and plastic.
p.s. Am I the only one who has problems writing men? Not their irritating habits, or their snappy dialog, or bathroom humor, but the deep down GUYNESS. I feel like a voyeur, being in the hero’s head. I don’t belong there.
Then my agent sold the book.
Okay, just because I’ve never done something before, doesn’t mean I can’t, right? That's what I keep telling myself.
I had to strip out the old Ken doll hero, and insert a living, breathing one. He went from being a tall, lanky vet with red hair to a blue collar mechanic. (I used a young Springsteen as my model – yum!)
But of course, this changed the whole book. I wasn’t about to start over; after all, the bones of the book were there, right? Kinda. The problem is, the line between the old book and the new is blurring. The new hero is a recovering alcoholic. I forgot, and had the heroine give him a beer. Duh.
It was made harder by alternating chapters with the other book I was writing at the same time.
Can you hear the panic in my voice? Time is ticking by.
Today I came to a decision. (No, my Alpha Dog won’t have to hide the razor blades.) From today on, I’m working on the Dust Bunny book until it’s done.
No more alternating books – I’m just getting lost doing that.
The moral of the story:
DO NOT resurrect a Dust Bunny Book. You’re going to want to, I know. But remember Stephen King’s book, Pet Semetary? Once something dies, what gets brought back isn’t the Book of your Heart. It’s something else – something twisted. Sinister. Evil.
Writing this blog, I feel like I’m watching a scary movie, and the teenage girl is standing at the top of the dark stairs to the cellar. I’m screaming, Don’t do it!!!!
Leave the book to whatever horrible thing lives under the bed. Trust me, it’s safer that way.
Have you every tried to resurrect a Dust Bunny Book? What kind of outcome did you have? Have you ever been tempted?
Laura Drake is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways or a serious cowboy crush. She writes Women’s Fiction and Romance, and in December, she sold three novels set in the world of professional bull riding to Grand Central. THE SWEET SPOT, in which a couple struggles to reclaim their lives after a tragic loss, will be released May of 2013.
In January, she sold her ‘biker chick’ novel, (Dust Bunny Book!) Road Song, to Superromance. It will be released sometime in 2013.
Laura resides in Southern California, though she aspires to retirement in Texas. She’s a corporate CFO during the day, and a wife, grandmother, writer, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours. She is the current President of the Women’s Fiction Chapter of RWA.