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Wait . . . I Wrote This? Revisiting a Partial Manuscript Eight Years Later

Monday, May 3, 2021

Some of you may recall Stephen Brightwell from Follow the Heart and An Honest Heart and rightly suspected that he was to get his own book. That was, until my publisher decided to stop publishing fiction. But before they came to that decision, I’d started writing The Heart that Waits—what was supposed to be the third book in the Great Exhibition series. That all happened during a really difficult time in my life, and I’d put it far, far out of my mind.

While cleaning out my office for a major reorganization this weekend, I came across a printout of the eight-and-a-half chapters I’d written, along with some handwritten notes on the characters and story idea(s) for it.

Stephen Brightwell, Lord Thynne, & Mrs. Mercy Timperleigh
(character templates: Daniel Craig and Rosamund Pike)

All I really remember about it when I gladly put it aside to focus on getting back into working full-time after several years of “writing full-time” (a.k.a., mostly unemployed with sporadic, increasingly infrequent freelance editing projects to try to make ends meet) was that I’d hated every single word of it that I’d been forced to write by the contract I’d signed and partial advance I’d accepted—and already spent on rent and food—and that it would never have been an acceptable story/manuscript if I had made myself finish it.

But now, eight years later, once I started reading it I couldn’t stop. It was strange going back and re-reading something I have almost no memory of writing. And it brought up lots of … feels. I remembered (vaguely) my main characters—there are several; and as I did with the other two books in this series, there are two romance storylines—and I remembered (vaguely) where each of the two main storylines were going. I mean, it is a romance novel, after all. But I did not remember the specific scenes or the dialogue or the minor characters, or the fact that I featured name-drops of a couple of previous-book characters (Nora from FtH and Caddy and Neal from AHH).

Pippa/Sophie (hadn’t settled on a name) & Ben, the couple for the secondary romance storyline
(character templates: Sarah Bolger and Colin O’Donoghue)

It’s one thing that I was able to read it and enjoy it. It’s another that I picked up a pen and made a couple of corrections and changes as I read.

The Two Big Questions
Will I ever go back and complete this story?

I don’t know. I’ve been thinking a lot about that time period recently—along with ideas for additional Royal Navy/Regency–set stories. But the creative flow/urge just isn’t there when I sit down to try to write. But, maybe if I go back and start by rewriting something I’ve already written it might help . . .? insert shrug emoji here 😉 I’m up for trying it.

Then, if I do complete it, would I ever publish it?

Again, I don’t know. I might, if I decide I like it and it completes the trilogy the way it was supposed to. But I’d have to work with my agent to ensure that I actually have the right to do so, since it was originally under contract to a publisher that’s no longer publishing fiction but still has the rights to the first two in the series.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Carol permalink
    Thursday, May 6, 2021 5:20 pm

    Whether it’s this story or another one, I would LOVE to see you writing with joy again.

    Liked by 1 person

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