When a love triangle isn’t a love triangle

I’m happy to be hosting one of the lovely gals from my brainstorming group today, author Kim Law. Kim’s new book, Sprinkles on Top, is the latest in her Sugar Springs series. Take it away, Kim.

So…I have a book release tomorrow. One I’m very excited about even though the writing of this book almost killed me. And one of which the process of writing I wish never to repeat.

Sprinkles on Top is book three in my Sugar Springs series. It’s fun and sexy, and I love it so much. Now. Last December? I wanted it to die. You see, I originally wrote it in five weeks, producing a very masterful piece of poo. I was given more than five weeks to write it, of course, but I did it in five weeks because 1) I’m a major procrastinator, and 2) I took on way too many projects last year. Toss in a couple of family deaths, a family heart attack, and losing one of my dogs (all in the same month) and I lost complete control of my time. I have learned my lesson! Writing a book in five weeks is not easy, and for me, does not produce good results. I will not do it again.

So I wrote it in five weeks and sent it off to my editor with the note, “This really isn’t good.” She returned it a few weeks later saying (and I’m paraphrasing), “This sucks!” And yes, it did. Very much. But the thing that got to me about her editorial letter was this line. “I don’t want to change your vision of the book, but let’s take [this person] out of the story.”

The person mentioned just happened to be one leg of my love triangle. Therefore…don’t change the vision for the book, but remove one of the players of a love triangle?

I was at a complete loss as to what to do. You see, up to this point, any revisions I’d received on a book were mostly that. Revisions. Some scenes rewritten or added (maybe deleted). A small secondary story line or two removed. Tweaks and fixes. But not rewrite the whole freaking book!

But if I was going to remove a player in my love triangle, then I had to rewrite the book. In approximately two weeks.

Over Christmas.

I did not handle this well.

I’m a plotter, and I need structure and order in my head to produce anything other than a steady stream of drool. Taking out one of the main players in the book did not produce structure and order. Thus, I panicked. I think I probably cried. And I’m sure a lot of chocolate was involved.

But then I gradually worked myself out of the fetal position, figuring I couldn’t really delete the whole file and tell my editor that I’d changed my mind. That I didn’t want to be an author after all, and could we just forget this whole thing ever happened. I had to rewrite. And that was one of the most painful things I’ve done in my life. (Let it be noted that for different reasons, I got to pretty much rewrite the second half of the next book I turned in, as well. Yeah . . . not a good time for me.)

So I sat up and I made myself start thinking. I called author friends, needing them to talk through it with me. I emailed my editor new ideas. Nothing was working. And then I re-read the editorial letter again. She didn’t want to change the vision of my story.

Well heck, neither did I! I wanted a love triangle!! That was the vision. However, I could see the points she’d made about why it didn’t work. Therefore, I finally started looking at it differently. Could I keep it a love triangle? Only different? Could I maybe not have to rewrite the whole thing?

Sprinkles on Top is set in my small fictional town in Tennessee, and as part of the town I have a lot of busybodies running about. Yet in the first version of Sprinkles, those busybodies had remained mostly quiet. This did not fit with my other two Sugar Springs books at all. Thus, I now knew that I wanted a love triangle and I needed to bring my busybodies back. But my brain was still refusing to unlock the answer.

One more call, this time to my agent, and within five minutes we had the answer! My heroine was looking to settle down in Sugar Springs and get married yet had no prospects (in the first version she had a definite prospect), while my hero is big-city and shows up only long enough to get to know his brothers and then he’ll be gone (same as the first version). But the best part, my busybodies now had something to do. Word could leak that my heroine needs a man and the whole town would get involved in helping her find someone!

Score! Modified love triangle, busybodies, happily-ever-after. Whew. And that was a HEA for me too, because though my rewrite was still a rewrite, it wasn’t quite as huge in my head as it had been the first time I read that editorial letter. It was now more of a very heavy revision. And my structured brain handled that much, much better.

So I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here other than when you get horrible news (such as an editorial letter that makes you want to quit forever), maybe it’s not as bad as it first sounds. Take a giant step back and look at it from a variety of ways. And if you have a brain like mine that panics and shuts down into a tiny hole where no new ideas are coming through, then talk to people, take a walk, or just eat chocolate for a couple days. Give yourself time to mourn before taking a fresh look. Hopefully, what you see the second time around will be a bit less daunting.

Thanks for having me back, Trish! And I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on dealing with bad news or difficult situations, whether editorial letters or something more in their personal lives. Given my recent track record, I fear I’ll need the suggestions going forward. *eyeroll* One lucky commenter will win a $10 IHOP gift card — IHOP because of the yummy looking pancakes on the cover of Sprinkles on Top.

Blurb for Sprinkles on Top:

For Holly Marshall, there’s no such thing as a perfect match. That’s reflected in the unpredictable, fun clothing combos the aspiring artist wears around her hometown of Sugar Springs—and in her inability to fit in anywhere else. But when she sets out to prove to her family that she’s ready to grow up by settling down, could she have found her perfect mismatch in a play-by-the-book guy wearing a business suit?

High-powered attorney Zack Winston is a man who always gets what he wants. While Holly wouldn’t mind sampling what Zack so deliciously has to offer, she needs someone who plans to stick around—and Zack’s disdain of small towns suggests he won’t. But as the camaraderie of Sugar Springs begins to charm, and Zack’s brothers show what family is all about, he and Holly may just get the chance to have it all…if they’re brave enough to reach out and take it.

Excerpt:

Holly hadn’t looked away from him, while the woman at her side continued to rattle on. Her cheeks had a cute pink hue to them today, and her face was washed clean of makeup. She was like a breath of fresh air that kept hitting him in the face.

“Monday night?” the older lady asked as Zack approached. “I’ll set it up. Something nice. How about Talbot’s?”

Holly’s lips inched further up. She shifted her focus to the woman, politeness radiating from her. “That sounds lovely, Ms. Francis. But how about you have Tony call me? He and I can set something up if we decide we both want to go out.”

Ah, a date.

With Tony.

Whoever Tony was.

Ms. Francis beamed. “I’ll do that, sweetheart. And he wants to, trust me. I’ve already talked to him about it. I even gave him money to take you out. He’ll treat you right.”

Zack held back a laugh at the look on Holly’s face. Apparently she didn’t want to date someone who needed his mother to both give him money to take a girl out and get his dates for him. He couldn’t say he blamed her.

Ms. Francis finally noticed him, and scrutinized him up and down. The verdict seemed to be that she found him lacking because her nose turned up and she gave a little hmph.

Then she patted Holly’s arm, shined another bright smile her way, and trotted off.

www.KimLaw.comwww.facebook.com/kimlawautorwww.twitter.com/kim_law

Comments

77 Comments

  • flchen1 says:

    ROFL! Awesome excerpt, Kim! Poor Holly 😀

    I agree that taking a deep breath (both literally and metaphorically) can help when dealing with unexpected news of any kind! Sometimes talking things out with a friend after can also help!

  • Deanna says:

    Loved the description of the book and the excerpt. I think I’m going to have to check this series out. I’m a little OCD about books in a series. I always need to start at the beginning. I love stories set in small towns. They always have such a lovely charm to them.

    • Kim Law says:

      Well, you’ve in luck Deanna! The series is done 🙂 And good news, book one is on sale today! Here’s the buy link: http://amzn.to/GBCCTp

      I’m with you on the OCD. Though I can start in the middle (and have), I much prefer meeting all the characters in the series in order of they were written.

    • I’m very much the same way about reading (or watching) things in order. I’m very linear.

  • Helen says:

    Kim

    I do love the sound of this book and the series 🙂

    If I get news good or bad I like to talk with my friends they always laugh with me or have a shoulder to cry on and often I get any problems worked out

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • Kim Law says:

      Hi Helen. And thank you 🙂 I love this series, and I’m sad to see it over. Though I am consider a spin-off trilogy to be done later!

      I think you just hit on an excellent point. Laughter. That helps those hard moments a lot!!! And laughter with friends is the best!

  • Amy Conley says:

    Bad news usually makes me stop, metaphorically and physically. I just lie down and stop everything. If, for whatever reason I can’t do this, then I begin asking questio s. I drive everyone crazy wanting to know the who, what, where, when, and why.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Welcome to the Lair, Kim and congrats n surviving the nightmare of revisions/rewrites! Sprinkles on Top sounds fabulous – must get a copy. What’s the first book in the series called?

    I’m smiling (or rather laughing hysterically!) with you. Boy, oh boy, have I got that t-shirt!Life has a way of seeing your deadline, then throwing everything and the kitchen sink at you! If it wasn’t for my calm, sane hubby, my wonderful friends (especially in the Lair) and wine, I wouldn’t make it through either.

    • Kim Law says:

      Hi Anna! And thanks for the welcome 🙂

      When the last book came in and edits were almost as bad, I had a really bad moment. Or two. I’m tired of horrible edits, and determined to do better!!

      The first book is Sugar Springs, and the second is Sweet Nothings. Also, Sugar Springs is on sale today for only $1.99!! Thanks for asking 🙂

    • It’s is frustrating when you have your work schedule planned out and, bang, other stuff that has to be done yesterday shows up and wonks everything up.

  • Laurie G says:

    First, I try to handle it by myself. My faith and prayers help me deal with traumatic issues.

    Second, I’ll talk to my husband, sister and daughter, then friends.

    I haven’t read any of your books yet. I’m from a small town so I know all about busybodies.

    Best wishes!

    johns lake at usa dot com

    • Kim Law says:

      Faith and prayers are powerful things. I’m glad you’ve got that in your life, Laurie.

      And busybodies…bless their hearts…they just want to be helpful, don’t they 🙂

    • I wonder how many of us grew up in small towns and can relate. I know I did. My hometown had about 3,000 people and two whole stoplights. 🙂

  • alisha woods says:

    I love the title, it just makes me smile

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    I always take a drive, buy a soda or a coffee and go sit in a parking lot somewhere by myself and think. Works very well for me for problem solving.

    • Kim Law says:

      Oh, yes! A drive!! I forgot that one. Now that I work at home I forget how useful it is just to get out and drive. Thanks!!

    • I love going on scenic drives, things that connect me back to the calming effects of nature. Best of all is driving along the coast or just pulling over and listening to the waves. Very soothing.

  • Connie Saunders says:

    I think that walking away, or stepping back, is sometimes the best way to handle a difficult situation. A short time of doing something different can’t greatly alter your perspective. Thanks for this chance to win!

  • BJ says:

    Wow how to deal with bad news…I tend to just deal…I’m usually the one everyone dumps on so I’ve learned to just move forward. I bad news is gonna come and it’s gonna suck but it’s life. I just shove my head up high and tell the world ” well yeah …you can suck it!!!!” and move on to something happy. …. I think I might get that from my great grand daddy. One day when I was real young I was up set over something and he told me ” and this is how you’re going to handle life…cry over it….that’s not how you fix things…you deal with it straight on baby…don’t show the tears you show them your chin and say SUCK IT” and thus my way of dealing. I loved that man even his tombstone said SUCK IT I’m partying without you.. I swear my family is nuts sometimes…but they’re my nuts 🙂 Great interview 🙂

  • Jacie Floyd says:

    Hi Kim,

    Love the honesty you’ve shared here today. Clearly, rewriting is a much more daunting task than writing the first draft from your heart, where anything goes. I can see how rewriting can cause mental and emotional brain freeze. But as a professional, you worked it out. Excellent!
    Love that you’re returning to Sugar Creek for this one, that’s an excellent town and setting for a series. Sprinkles On Top sounds great. Love the title and the cover!

  • Shari says:

    So excited to read your book tomorrow in release day . I am sure all those rewrites and chocolate was well worth it!

  • Leslie Waters says:

    I love small towns and all the busybodies in them. Everyone knows your business and what good for you. Sometimes they actually do which is scary. I can’t wait to read this series and so glad your final book is out.

  • Kim, welcome back! That’s a great excerpt.

    I love series set in small towns. I grew up in one, and romance authors who use them for settings capture the best parts and don’t dwell on the less pleasant parts unless they can provide conflict or comic relief.

    As for dealing with bad news, I think just realizing that nothing, as my dad used to say, is permanent, that everything can change, is helpful.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Hi, Kim, welcome to the Lair. Congratulations on working through the rewrites/revisions. Your series sounds lovely and I like the way you made the “love triangle” for you r book!

    I always do the “what if” worst case scenario when I have bad news. So, what’s the worst that could happen given these circumstances? Once I’ve answered that question, my mind seems to be able to handle whatever the situation is.

    • Kim Law says:

      Hi Jo, and thanks for the welcome! Your comment made me laugh because I think I did that, only it sent me into a downhill spiral. What’s the worst that can happen? I have to pay back my advance and admit I can’t do this!!! And then I worried that that might actually come true 🙂

    • You sound like you have a very analytical approach, Jo. Must be the teacher in you. 🙂

  • Agatha P. Townsend says:

    I always love series books and small town and people gossip.Thank you for all your prizes . Keep writing.

  • Kim says:

    I often wondered what authors do when they love a particular plot or plot device and it just doesn’t work. You elected to change things, but have you ever taken something from one manuscript and used it in another book?

    • Kim Law says:

      Kim, I’ve tried. Or thought I would. But so far it’s never worked. The problem is, another book is so totally different that I just can’t make it fit!

      I did take a setting from an old book and put it into a new book though 🙂

      • I think we always think we’ll do that and that’s why we paste the culled material into another file for future use. Only that stuff very rarely makes a reappearance.

  • bn100 says:

    Nice excerpt; talk with friends

  • Kim, welcome to the lair. Congratulations on your new release! And hugs on the revisions. They’re tough even when we can see that the book needs major surgery before it’s fit for public consumption! Sounds like it came out of its baptism of fire a winner!

    • Kim Law says:

      Hi Anna. Thanks. And yeah, hopefully it came out a winner! I sometimes still shake in fear that it’s as bad as that first version 🙂

    • I think it’s at least partially because we were so excited in the first draft, of getting that burning idea down. I think for most writers that excitement is gone when you’ve looked at it a million times.

  • Jean MmcMurry says:

    I think your heroine should get Pregnant. I always love that plot twist, and you never know what the hero is going to do about it.

  • Kim –

    You wrote the book in five weeks! I’m so jealous. Obviously it wasn’t all poo – it just needed more conflict, but now it sounds wonderful. Good Luck with Sprinkles on top!

  • Maureen says:

    Congratulations on your new book KIm! It sounds like it was quite a challenge but it looks like a good story. When tough times come I simply take one step at a time and try not to overthink the situation.

  • May Pau says:

    Congrats!

    I take bad news badly… I can’t sleep and it bugs me. Running helps to distract me though.

  • Shannon says:

    Congratulations on the book! I don’t know anything about writing a book! But my senior analyst looked at me tonight when we found out the editor had gone home without sending revisions that the editting tomorrow is going to be enormous and difficult on my two page article. Oh joy. Right now it’s slated to “publish” on Wednesday morning.

    After that “happy” discussion, I went to the hospital, thinking I was picking up a friend after her car wreck. They were not releasing her. Her dementia is quite severe, and the chances of her living alone are slim, unless she improves markedly. I don’t know how you did three things in a month. I’m sitting here trying to decide whether to cry, eat, or go to bed.

  • Chelsea B. says:

    I always find that it helps if I talk about it. With someone I’m really close with. It usually doesn’t seem so bad once said out loud 🙂 Sometimes ya just gotta get out of your own head!

  • Marcy X says:

    I try to deal with it two ways first is there any way I can find some thing positive? Second I turn to family and friends for help.

  • Amy Conley says:

    Trish I’ve got you beat on the “small town”, only 1500 in our town and a lot of that is spread out on farms. We only have one stoplight and we have had that the past 15 years, give or take. The town hubby grew up in is even smaller, less than 750 and even more spread out with farms, and zero stoplights!

  • ellie says:

    Bad news is dealt with in a non-emotional manner because there is not point in dwelling upon it. Get over it and try to achieve, and succeed.

  • anne says:

    I have had bad news experiences and try to overcome the troubles but it is depressing and upsetting. My bout with breast cancer forced me to be brave and courageous.

  • Elaina says:

    If you have someone close who is kind, compassionate and understanding and a good listener it certainly eases the burden and lessens the hurt.

  • pearl says:

    Congratulations on your new release. Sometimes I cannot sleep nor concentrate since bad news does occupy the mind.