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Wednesday, April 21, 2010


People often compare writing a novel to having a child. It's true, too, and the more of them you write, the more the analogy holds true. The path to each one is different, and all of them their own special place in your heart. Raising them is similar too.

The first time, I was nervous. I didn't know what I was doing, I felt like I was fumbling all over the place. I jumped into the project with a lot of enthusiasm but not much know how, which was fine, because there were people at every turn, just waiting to give me advice. As with my first child, I took all this advice very seriously, even though it sent me down the wrong road a time or two. When one direction didn't work, I had reevaluate what I was doing and try a whole new approach. Eventually, though, we round our rhythm and the work began to go smoothly.

Once my first novel was out in the world and I felt I could truly call myself an author, I decided it was time to write another. I went into it this one with a lot more confidence. I mean, if I could do it once, I could certainly do it again right? Piece of cake.

But, as with children, the experience was completely different. Everything I thought I knew went right out the window, nothing seemed to apply. Sure, the mechanics were all the same, but the result was totally unexpected, and again…I had to learn a whole new bag of tricks.

The primary problem with the first novel was deciding what it really was. Should it be a mystery, or a romance? I started with the romance, but when it reached a certain point, I started to feel that the mystery I was creating had some real merit and maybe I should go that direction. So, I stripped all the romance out of it and rearranged things. I went along like that for a while, but it just didn't feel right, I had to go back to my own natural method. Again, I had to reorganize the story, cut and paste text and merge it all together again. What I learned from this book was I actually was capable of doing such a drastic overhaul.

The second novel presented me with a whole new challenge. When I got the idea for the plot, everything fell into place pretty easily and before I knew it, I had a good solid plotline. Before I'd even started writing, I knew how it started, I knew what happened all the way through, and I knew just how it ended. I was thrilled and couldn't wait to get going. Unfortunately, this time the problem was word count. As I drew ever closer to the conclusion of my story, I knew there was no way I was going to make the required word count for my publisher. What to do? Well, I learned real quick how to create subplots that support the main storyline and expand the story without being fluff. I'm so pleased with how the finished product came out and how much richer the story is.

Now I'm starting my third novel and wondering what the challenges and lessons of this one will be. Experience has taught me that I shouldn't count on anything to be the same. I'm having a little harder time pulling this plot together, kind of like getting a fussy toddler to cooperate. Meanwhile, my other two are still demanding my attention. The difficult teenager, my first novel, has been giving me trouble with the print release, and the second one is coming up for edits any time now. But, like all families, we're working it out, and my little brood is doing well.

Elle Parker likes her heroes snarky and human, and she writes with a realism that incorporates humor and everyday detail into steamy and exciting stories. Although she writes a few forms of erotica, her first love and primary focus is M/M Erotic Romance. She works hard to create characters you can't help but fall in love with.

Most of the time, Elle can be found in her home in the north woods of Wisconsin, working on her latest novel, or spending time with her husband and teenaged kids. When not writing, she likes reading, brewing beer and swimming with the loons. Unless it's winter. In that case she grabs a book and drinks the beer.

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