You’ve probably heard the old adage “writing is rewriting.“ Well, it’s true. Or at least it should be. While there are some people who unleash their rough first draft onto their unsuspecting audience, most writers know that careful rewriting and revising is where the magic really happens.
For my newest romance novel, Just Physical, which has been published today, I spent almost as much time rewriting and revising as writing the first draft.
Here’s a breakdown of the time I spent on Just Physical.
Overall, I worked on Just Physical for 501 hours. That’s slightly less than the 549 hours I spent on Damage Control, the previous book in the Hollywood series, but that one was 140,000 words compared to the 116,000 words of Just Physical.
Also, I didn’t need to do as much research for Just Physical because it’s set in the same world of movie-making as Damage Control, and I had already created three of the characters—main character Jill Corrigan and her two best friends, Grace and Lauren, who were all introduced in Damage Control. I did do a lot of research into multiple sclerosis and also into stunt work, because the second main character, Kristine “Crash” Patterson, is a stuntwoman. I started research on March 1 and spent 73 hours doing research, plotting, and working on my characters’ backstory.
I started writing the first draft on June 1 and finished it on August 12. During that time, I spent 222 hours writing the 94,000 words of the first draft. Some of that time included getting feedback from beta readers and revising the story according to that feedback. I always sent them each chapter as soon as I had finished it, so by the time I wrapped up the first draft, it was in pretty good shape. Or so I thought.
I then spent 59 hours on the second draft. For the most part, I added new scenes that show my two main characters interacting with people other than each other. They both have friends and family members, so to make them more three-dimensional characters, I had to show those relationships as well. When I was done, I sent the 100,000-word manuscript off to my content editor.
Her feedback was tough. While she liked the novel and its characters, she felt it still needed a lot of work. And she was right. The opening chapters didn’t work, so I needed to cut the first two chapters and write a new opening. Some of the scenes in the last third of the book didn’t advance the plot, so they had to go too. I also had to add new scenes and rewrite existing ones to show more of Jill’s inner struggle and her emotional journey as she figures out how to have a life — and a relationship — despite suffering from multiple sclerosis.
I spent 142 hours rewriting and reshaping the entire novel. It had been some time since I last had to work so hard on revising and rewriting a book, but I think it’s been worth it. What I sent to the editor wasn’t a bad book, but it can’t compare to the richer, more complex version you’ll get to read.
I had two of my beta readers re-read this version of the novel, and they both agreed that it’s a much better read than the first draft. The new version also went to a beta reader who hadn’t read the first draft and could give me an unbiased opinion—and she loved it too.
When everyone was happy with the story, I sent it off to the copy editor, who pointed out a few awkward sentences and grammar mistakes that had made it into the book during the many revisions.
So, as you can see, my team and I spent a lot of time writing—or rather rewriting—Just Physical to make it a captivating romance with realistic characters that you will enjoy.
Just Physical is available as an e-book at the Ylva Publishing webstore. It will be available for pre-order from major bookstores such as Amazon this Sunday (November 22) and will be available for purchase on November 30.
I hope you’ll enjoy the fruit of my labor!