I'll admit it: my last manuscript put me through hell. Two complete rewrites, a cast of thousands who needed to be sent away without any supper and making my heroine 15 instead of 35 threw me for a loop sometimes. Yet somehow, I survived.

Now if only I could tell you that the book is for sale right now. ;)

But this post is about those times when the writing works. If I knew how to create the same elements so the words would flow so freely my fingers barely keep up ("I Can't Type Fast Enough"), I'd sell it so that everyone could put their own Penguins of Panic or other vessels of self-doubt to rest. But I don't. All I can tell you is writing only works when you work at it.

And that's what I tend to forget sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time. Writing the first draft of anything is a major step, but it's not the last step. How easily we forget that sometimes the words come out of our head a little wonky, or the wrong character is named in a particular scene...or a particular scene is, how you say, unseemly.

That's when you need to go back and weed out the nasty stuff, nurture the good stuff and see where things might improve, whether by cutting out a few hundred characters or taking out that dance number in the middle of chapter 7. Especially when the hero and heroine are supposed to be in hiding.

Then, if you're really lucky, you might spot something that you'd missed before -- like a hint at how your hero's needs have changed or perhaps your heroine's motivation wasn't hers at all, but a promise she made to someone else way before he came along. And no, this isn't a spoiler for my manuscript. ;)

Now I'm faced with the dilemma of what to take on next after having achieved the "huzzah" of a fabulous run. Will anything else I take on live up to the way I felt with this last project.

Yeah, no problem.

If I could do it before, certainly I can do it again. Right? Right? Hmm...maybe I should take a break and watch Melrose Place Season 2. ;)

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