Jeanne: July Progress Report

Last month I started a series on my project to self-publish a trilogy of paranormal romances. I posted a very aggressive project plan that showed the first book releasing in May, 2018. You may recall that the early part of the plan looked something like this (previously completed tasks removed for simplicity):

Task Description Start Date End Date % Complete
One-Time Tasks      
General Marketing and Branding Tasks      
Get a website built 4/13/2017 6/12/2017 75%
Receive draft site 6/12/2017
Go live with site 8/1/2017
Send out first newsletter 9/1/2017
Plan blog tour
Book-specific tasks
Book 1—The Demon Always Wins
Submit manuscript to editor (milestone) 4/1/2017 Done
Developmental edit process 4/1/2017 6/19/2017 75%
Make revisions from editor feedback 6/20/2017 7/20/2017

I’m happy to report some solid progress on these tasks.

I’ve been in conversations with the web developer at Bemis Promotions and should have a site to show you by next month. (Woo-hoo!)

Also, I received the edit report as well as in-line edits from Karen Dale Harris for The Demon Always Wins last Monday. That was about three weeks later than the project plan specified, but he info I received back on the edit report was worth waiting for.

The report ran 29 pages. Karen and I corresponded a bit while she was working. As the report grew longer and longer, I grew concerned she was putting together instructions for writing a completely different book, one that might sell better, but wouldn’t be the book I envisisioned.

That wasn’t what happened at all. What she sent back was perfectly geared to letting me get closer to the book I started out to write but lost track of somewhere along the way. If I manage to implement the changes she suggests, the book will be more cohesive, more consistent and way sexier–a definite plus when you’re writing romance.

Some sample feedback:

  • In Romance, once the hero and heroine meet and when in their POV, imo both characters should be “present” in every scene. This is true even if both character aren’t physically in the scene. (This was great advice, not only for this book, but even more so for the Contemporary I’ve been working on. The scenes where my H/H are present really pop, but the scenes where they’re dealing with their individual issues, not so much. Now I know how to fix that.)
  • I advise that you try not to merely insert an explanation but to actually go back and fix whatever mistake or missing info caused the question. It’s almost always possible for an author to explain away an issue after the fact, but to the the reader this can feel like a justification. The more complicated the explanation and the more new plot points it requires to explain, the less your reader will trust your worldbuilding.
  • In early scenes, the specifics of the wager feel a bit muddy. I recommend that you boil the wager down to the essentials and make sure to spell those out in Chapter 1. The reader will be more invested if they know how you win or lose, or if you at least make it clear you’re withholding this info as a hook. Is the intention to temp Dara like Eve or test her like Job?

These are all great points–and she raised about 28 more pages worth of equally great points. In addition, there are hundreds of comments in the manuscript itself–some of them her notes as she identified the problems later covered in the report, others more detailed. For example, she pointed out that I have the Norse god Loki use the word “uffda,” a word I heard frequently when I lived in Minnesota. Her research indicates uffda isn’t a Norse word. It was coined by Norwegian immigrants after they came to this country.

I’m not certain I can complete these edits in a month, as the project plan specifies, but I’m going to give it a shot.



5 thoughts on “Jeanne: July Progress Report

  1. I love those feedback points, Jeanne–I’m going to steal the first two, especially the one about the h/h being present in every scene. Thank you! I’m guessing it may take you more than a month to do justice to this kind of top quality in-depth feedback. Look forward to finding out, and to hearing what you learn and what changes you decide to make as you work through the edit.

    Congratulations on a month of good progress!

  2. I also like that feedback point about keeping the h/h present in every scene. I’m actually not sure if I agree with it completely, but that’s no doubt why agents and editors have been telling me for years that I don’t really write romance novels! Still, it’s good advice, and I’ll look at future scenes with it in mind.

    You’re making great progress! Best wishes on those revisions! I look forward to reading the entire book when it’s ready.

    • When I first read Karen’s comment, I thought, “Well, that’s never going to pass the Bechdel test.” Though, in fairness to Karen, it was part of a longer statement contrasting Romances with Love Stories. Her point, and I think it’s valid, is that Romance junkies read for the romance, not the character arc. I can choose to write a Love Story, which has this romantic relationship as a component, or I can choose to feed the Romance addiction. For this particular book, my goal was to write a satisfying romance, not a more serious character arc story. So I’m going to turn my back on Alison’s rule and see if I can’t romance it up some!

    • Thanks, Michaeline! It doesn’t feel inspirational from this side–just too slow and too bumpy. Perseverance has gotten me this far. Let’s see if it will take me the rest of the way.

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