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Welcome back to Romance Weekly blog hop. The blog is set up in a round robin fashion so you can link to the next author for another interesting blog. Be sure to check out Collette Cameron’s blog when you are finished here. She’s before me in the blog hop today.
This week’s topic is from Carrie Elks:
Stephen King famously said that it’s necessary to “kill your darlings” when editing your work. Do you have anything you had to remove from a book that you’re still proud of? Or something that embarrasses you so much it will never again see the light of day? If you’re feeling really brave, share some of it with us!
Kill my darlings. This was a difficult lesson for me to learn. It took several critique partners and friends with confused looks on their faces for me to realize what I thought was a clear blue sky scene was actually a scene caked with mud, sand, and twigs. Honestly, it still happens with new writing so I’m constantly learning - or maybe I’ll never learn? Thank goodness for critique partners and friends willing to read my early drafts.
I do have an example to share. It was really difficult for me to cut this scene. It was one that had come to me as a vision, epiphany or a plain old dream one night while I was sleeping. It actually woke up me in the middle of the night and I quickly wrote it down on paper so I wouldn’t forget it in the morning. Cutting a scene like that -- ohhh it’s terrible. It took several drafts of not cutting it and asking okay read it now until I saw the writing on the wall. CUT IT OUT.
As I looked over what I had saved (because I couldn’t bear to actually DELETE it, but just put it in another document for LATER USE) I can see now how it didn’t fit and really isn’t that great of a scene. At the time, I thought it was pretty cool. Hindsight is weird. This scene needs revision like a decaying tooth needs filled! It’s easy for me to see now where readers were confused, there were very few paranormal elements and the ones I had in there were vague and didn’t give the scene the punch it needed. Also, this was the opening scene and not one of the four characters were the hero or heroine. So, of course the readers thought Cameron was the star. (He did take over the show and another reason I had to cut his ass out of a lot of this manuscript.)
I kept the scene around because (hahahahaha!) I thought when I cut it that my draft readers would be like - “Oh, something is missing. You need a scene with Cameron in the jungle so we know more about the military team.” No one asked this. I think I just had a crush on Cameron.
So, here it goes.
“Cam, do you copy?”
Cameron heard Amber’s voice in his ear, but he couldn’t respond to her. His throat closed over any words he tried to make. Pins and needles like a limb that fell asleep formed over his scalp. He remained in his crouched position hidden deep in the jungle. The dull ache in the back of his head increased in intensity and he felt the sweat trickle down the side of his face. He looked into the scope of the rifle and saw darkness.
“What’s going on Amber?” Zach asked his tone suggesting worry.
“Cam isn’t answering me. Has either of you seen him or know his position?”
Once again, Cameron tried to tell them he was okay. He dropped the gun and clutched the back of his head. Had he been shot? He pulled his hand away to see if there was any blood. Clear and pale as usual. The pain raged again and he couldn’t even see his weapon any longer.
“Leon, “ said Zach, “do you know Cam’s position?”
“Negative. Do you think he was ambushed?”
“I’ll move up the mountain to see if I can get a lock on the target,” suggested Amber and Cam praised her good decision making skills.
“Leon, break the perimeter and see if you can find him,” ordered Zach.
Cam wanted to shout to them to not break the perimeter. It was more important for the unit to complete the mission than to worry about him having a panic attack. He sunk onto the hot ground. Nothing ever felt cold in this country. His hands started to shake and for the first time he thought that he might be dying. Someone had spotted him and silently taken him out. What other explanation could there be?
“I see him, “ Cam heard Leon say. “I’m scanning the area to see if there is anyone out there. He looks hurt, but I can’t tell.”
“How long will it take you to get to him?” asked Amber.
“About 5 minutes.”
No! Cameron wanted to shout but knew the sound came from his mind and not his mouth. Amber’s voice once again sounded in his ear.
“I see the target and will have a good shot from my position. Zach, are you prepped for exit once the deed is over?”
Cam heard jungle vegetation move unnaturally and felt Leon beside him. He was still unable to see him or talk.
“Amber. Leon. Abort mission!”
What no no no. What is Leon doing?
Leon continued with his abort orders, “Stop any activity and make your way to my coordinates. Cam is hurt bad. I’m not sure what happened. He has a pulse, but we need to evac asap.”
“What’s going on? I have a clear shot, Leon.”
“Cam is bleeding everywhere. It’s everywhere... his eyes, nose, ears! Zach, bring the bigger medical kit here with you. I can’t determine where he’s been shot. He is starting to convulse.”
So, I was hit, Cam thought. How could that have happened? They had watched the small bunker in the jungle for three days making sure all the people who came in and out were accounted for. They timed the target’s arrival and departure in order to complete their mission. There had been no scouts or sentries anywhere near it. Had it been a lucky shot?
He felt Leon use the small medical kit each of them had on them. He put something is his mouth and it dissolved instantly. He wouldn’t have been able to swallow. He felt a pinch in his leg and realized that Leon had given him morphine. I must be really bad. I wonder if this will be my last mission. That thought gave him more motivation to pull through. Taft nor his men would be the one to kill him. He knew he had to live in order to bring justice to the world. To everyone’s world, even humans.
He heard another small rustling in the jungle and then Zach was crouched down on his other side. Zach placed a larger bag down and it brushed against Cam’s fingers. That’s the rescue bag, usually only for serious life threatening wounds.
“Did you find the entry point? Is it in his spine?” Zach asked.
“That’s the weirdest part.” Leon said as he grabbed the bag and pulled it over Cam’s body to get to the contents inside.
“More than one shot?”
“No. There aren’t any bullet wounds.”
Carrie Elks is next on the hop. See what darlings she has had to kill. See you next week.
Photos from depositphotos.com