It's NaNoWriMo Eve. I'm not putting any cookies on the mantle, but I am looking over the low star reviews for The Sergeant and Bad Boys Need Too. Why am I reading them? Isn't it awful to read reviews and see the bad things people say about my story? I'll be honest. Reading the negative reviews stings. But it's like getting a shot. It only hurts for a moment and afterwards, I'll be better for it.
So how will I be better for having read negative reviews about my boys? Because I'm using it as a learning experience. Listening to my audience is the best way to figure out what I can do to improve my writing. The main two complaints for The Sergeant especially and BBNLT on a smaller scale are that they are too long and have too many sex scenes. Alright, guys you've got me! That is 100% true. Like most authors I have lots of ideas and scenes in my head for my stories. And they all seem so lovely, I don't want to lose any of them. So I had to learn the hard way - through tough reviews - that readers enjoy a long journey, just not one that makes unnecessary pit stops.
Participating in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, will help me with that problem. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. If I'm held to that number, I won't be able to create another epically long masterpiece. (I know they're not really masterpieces. But in my head they are. Gotta have that confidence to be able to share my scribblings with the world). So as I work on my outline for Ortega's Pet, I keep reminding myself to keep it right and tight. If I dream up a scenario, great. But I'll be ruthless in deciding if it's necessary to write into the story. And even then, I'll still have to "trim the fat" and remove some of what makes it onto the computer screen.
On to the next complaint. Too much sex! Are sex scenes necessary to the story? Well, considering I write erotic romance, hell yes. But! Do I have to have so many? This one is difficult for me. I did a previous post where I discussed how I try to use my sex scenes to further the plot and to build the characters' relationship. I will continue to do this of course. I'll just have to do less of it. (Boooo!) I suppose if I'm planning a shorter story over-all, it won't be as hard to cut back on all the sexy good times as I think. And since there will be less of them, I'll just have to make sure they're even more deep and intense than usual. So that's a win for you, the reader. *insert cheesy wink*
I look forward to seeing how I come out this go round. I've got my red pens ready. Maybe I should also get a few boxes of Kleenex. I know I'll have copious tears to shed as I cut words out of my manuscript.
Are you entering the madness that is NaNoWriMo? What are you doing to prepare?
Here's a few links to visit that cover trimming the fat from your manuscript: