The Agony and the Ecstasy (My Writing Process)

I haven’t written much since, well, after my return from Mexico in March. COLD FEET FEVER has been languishing  on my D drive for several months. As everyone knows, writing avoidance is a BAD THING for an indie author who needs to pump out another book.

Two weeks ago, I gritted my teeth and made a valiant attempt to pick up where I’d left off. I sat down at the computer and stared at the screen. I wrote a few pages of crap. Five days in a row. This wasn’t working. The words refused to flow. Something was holding me back.

Being a former consultant, I conducted an in-depth Needs Analysis of the situation, necessitating an Information Gathering phase, in this case, a re-read of everything I’d written so far.

I surprised myself by enjoying what I’d already written. And came understand what my subconscious had been screaming in my head for months—this book was going to be far too long. And by too long, I don’t mean a little bit too long. If I kept on going the way I was, this book was going to be several hundred pages too long.

So I got busy streamlining what I’d already written, combining chapters, removing wordiness, chopping unnecessary characters.

I’m aware that this approach flies in the face of all writing advice that says to soldier on, regardless. Hey, I would if I could. It would make my life so much easier, but my subconscious won’t let me. I need to feel a degree of comfort before I proceed with the last third of the book.

Some might call it overly analytical. Less charitable probably call it OCD. I prefer to call it my writing process.

Here’s a sample of a re-written chapter from COLD FEET FEVER.


By the time Saturday evening rolled around, every cell of Sam’s body buzzed with equal amounts of lust and frustration. As he and Katie mounted the steps of the Van Roon mansion, it was all he could do to keep his hands to himself. Hell, she smelled so delicious it was a miracle he didn’t self-combust. The urge to nuzzle the sweet spot on the back of her neck swept over him. A man couldn’t be blamed if he checked to see if she felt as good as she looked, could he?

Sam rang the doorbell instead. Gritting his teeth, he shoved his hands into his pockets to prevent a rookie mistake. Like dragging Katie into the bushes for some outdoor lovin’.

Apparently unaware of his fantasies, she turned to him with more animation than he’d seen for three days. “Look at this house. Amazing. If the Van Roons hire me to organize an event here, it’ll put Party Pizzaz on the map.” Her eyes glowed, likely at the thought of multiple lucrative contracts.

If it had been anatomically possible, Sam would have kicked his own ass. He wanted Katie to be here because of him, not her damned business. He wanted her nestled against his side, all sweet and compliant. Tonight, he intended to make himself so irresistible, she’d race him to the bedroom . . . unless she learned he’d slept with a goodly percentage of the female guests. Precautionary steps might be required.

He stretched his lips into his famous mega-watt smile. “With your talent and my contacts, you’ll soon be Atlantic City’s go-to party planner.”

She met his gaze, her eyes dark, unfathomable, and, unless he was being a touch paranoid, evaluating. “So you’ll make sure I meet the right people?”

Fearing some smile slippage, he upped the wattage. “I promised, didn’t I?”

To his relief, the front door opened, cutting off what he was certain was a sarcastic retort. A blast of sound damn near bowled him over. Female squeals punctuated the din of a rock band. As if eager to give him the slip, Katie darted inside, leaving him no choice but to hustle after her.

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