Simmer Until FULLY Heated

Some of you may have noticed I've been on a bit of a self-imposed blogging "time-off" lately. The self-imposed part makes "time-off" different from a "time-out," but it's similar in several ways.

For example, I've been sitting in a proverbial corner, pouting, wanting things to be different than they are, thinking, "Life's not fair!" and "Why, me, WHY ME???" Oh yeah. And there's the fist-pounding.

But now, my "time-off/out" is over. The moon and stars have shifted their positions in the sky (yes, I realize the Earth spins, but I'm going for dramatic effect here) and it's time for me to climb out of my cozy, dark corner and get back to work.

Let me back up. AA took me to Powell's Books & Orgasmatorium in Portland a few weeks ago and forced me at gunpoint to purchase a used copy of TWILIGHT. I doth protested muchly, but her cold glare stopped me dead in my tracks. I grabbed it from her hands, sighed loudly, gave her an evil glare, and marched to the check-out counter.

Last night I finished the damn book.

Okay, I admit, I loved it. (This is the part where my writerly BFF, Julie, who has been touting the wonders of all things Stephenie Meyer for the past year as I've defiantly rolled my eyes in disgust and proclaimed, "Vampires? PUHLEASE!!!"collapses to the floor in a wild fit of self-righteous laughter.) Anyhoo, when I read Becca Fitzpatrick's, "Hush Hush," I had a light-bulb moment realizing my story needed to be changed from 3rd person POV to 1st. Big, huge deal. My light-bulb moment while reading TWILIGHT was nearly 500 pages long. The magic here, and the thing I avoid in most areas of my life? SLOWING DOWN.

I move fast. Just the other night I was out with someone walking around downtown Philly and he said, "Damn, girl, you walk fast!" Yeah, I do. I'm from Brooklyn. We do everything fast.

What did I realize I need to slow down in my story? Romance! Edward and Bella don't even profess their true feelings for each other until halfway through the book! Their first kiss? Somewhere around page 300. ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME? And, the crazy thing is? It freaking works!!!

Tension, desire, anticipation, lust, mystery, utter joy. Those are the elements that, if written wisely, can be pure genius. TWILIGHT is not a book about vampires, it's a love story, plain and simple. And it's an epic love story. The reader "gets" how fully Edward and Bella are in love and are committed to one another. And, from a world-building standpoint? RIGHT. ON. THE. MONEY. A feverish love story with picture-perfect world building? That's no easy task, my friends, no easy task.

So, now, it's back to work for me. I'm lucky in that the bones of my book are solid, the concept interesting, and the characters engaging. Now, all I need to do is throw in the proper amounts of spices and let simmer until fully heated.

What about you? What are some of the things you realize you need to change/edit/work on in your stories. What parts do you nail, and what do you need work on?
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