Thursday, September 01, 2011

Every Book a Challenge

One of the joys of writing books under contract is finishing one on deadline and sending it in. Somehow, miraculously, the plot threads have tied together, the hero and heroine worked out their issues—but not until the conclusion—and the author can collapse on the sofa with a well-earned dish of ice cream (my indulgence of choice).

There she will lie until the editor asks for revisions. Oh, wait. There’s another book on the contract? And it’s due when?

People ask me if writing books gets easier when you’ve sold ninety of them. My reply is that, as with ballet, it becomes not easy but possible.

Exposition or back story continues to be a challenge, especially with a continuing series such as my current Safe Harbor Medical. Book six, The Surgeon’s Surprise Twins, comes out in October and last month I started writing book nine. (Book seven, The Detective’s Accidental Baby, is due in February 2012, and book eight, The Baby Dilemma, in April.)

The trick to making each book fresh is to write as if this were a single book, standing on its own. I try to include only as much background and only as many characters as the reader needs. Learning to handle this is one of the skills I’ve acquired in nearly thirty years of published writing.

This brings me to a promise I made here last month, to show you a cover I designed using my fledgling knowledge of Photoshop. I turned my years of writing and teaching experience into a short book (roughly 80 pages if it were published in print) called How to Write a Novel in One (Not-so-easy) Lesson. I posted it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for $2.99, and designed the cover myself. My husband took the photo.

Lest you think I simply paused in front of my bookcase one day, this is not my usual bookcase, which has a mirrored back incompatible with photography. I had to haul all ninety books and umpteen zillion foreign editions upstairs, strip a wooden bookcase of its assorted books, and set this up. Then I had to put everything back. Ouch.

So here’s my self-made cover to go with my self-made book. Meanwhile, it’s back to my favorite medical center’s fertility program, where everyone is guaranteed a happy ending (don’t we wish!).


linda s said...

You do so well. Continuities are really tricky. I get confused when every character of every previous book appears in name only say at a party or a wedding.
Your bookcase is intriguing... makes me want to just browse your titles. I don't usually do ebooks but for this I'll check out Amazon for sure.

Jacqueline Diamond said...

Linda, thanks! I just posted an updated and slightly rewritten contemporary romance, Old Dreams, New Dreams, on Amazon and BarnesandNoble for 99 cents, for digital readers (also readable on computers and iPods with a free app). I posted on of my Regencies, A Lady's Point of View, for 99 cents also. Hope you enjoy these introductory offers!

Linda Warren said...

I'm in awe. I finished Book #30 and, let's just say, the brain is tired.

What an accomplishnent.

Pamela Stone said...

Great post. I haven't actually written a continuity yet, but I do have one bouncing around in my mind. And I do mean bouncing. One of these days. Nice cover, btw. ;-)