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Cheryl Brooks | The Hazards of Writing

August 18, 2010

AUTHORTITLEThe most difficult part of being a writer isn’t the writing. Sure, our muse will desert us on occasion or our characters sometimes rebel, but writing is what we love or we wouldn’t be doing it. No one can make you write a full-length novel if you don’t want to. You might put 90,000 words on paper, but until the characters and the story come to life, you aren’t really creating anything.

Editing isn’t so bad. Once the manuscript is finished, you go back and find sentences that are wordy and cumbersome and must be cut, but it’s still something you as the writer have control over. I edit as I go along, but I still find those sentences that make me go, “Huh? What was I thinking?”

Revisions are more difficult because someone else has said, “Could you make the heroine more likeable?” or “Could you make this scene longer or more detailed?” Those suggestions may seem unreasonable at first, but eventually you realize that they do improve the book’s appeal and readability. Title changes are something else I’ve come to expect. Thus far, only Fugitive and Hero have retained their original titles.

I recently put the Kindle app on my iTouch and thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to have my own books on there?” So the other day when I was in a waiting room with nothing to read, I thought, “Ah ha! I can read Slave.” However, reading it from my current perspective, (I just started on book eight of the series) I spotted many things I would have written differently.

For one thing, Slave was written from the first person point of view, a technique I was encouraged to abandon after book three since it isn’t popular within the romance genre. I liked writing in that POV; it’s more natural&mdashafter all, everyone sees the world in first person&mdashbut romance readers like knowing what’s going on inside the hero’s head, and I must say, it’s a very interesting place to be. Even though I’ve enjoyed exploring the male side of the story, my third person voice has taken some time to develop. I was nearly finished with, Fugitive (book 5), and Outcast (book 4) had just gone to the printer when I first heard about the dreaded head hopping no-no. Yes, I was guilty of it, but some reviewers have actually said I do it well.

Which brings me to the most difficult part of being a writer: Reading reviews. I don’t care who you are, when someone rips your book to shreds, it hurts. You may eventually become objective enough to pick out the useful pointers and ignore the rest, but that initial gut reaction can paralyze you. So, when Fresh Fiction posted the very first review of Hero, my current release, my heart was pounding when I hit the link. I always expect the worst, but though the reviewer had never read any of my books and didn’t have a history of liking or disliking them, she gave it a pretty good review. I always love seeing words like “imaginative, colorful, and humorous” in connection with my work&mdashas I think any writer would&mdashand it was certainly one of those “sigh of relief” moments for me.

While there are readers who have followed this series from the beginning and anxiously await the next installment, my hot, Zetithian heroes they are probably as alien to you as Hero was to this reviewer. Many people don’t like starting a series in the middle, but I’ve done my best to ensure that each of them can stand alone. After all, it just gives you something else to look for!


The Cat Star Chronicles #6

He is the sexiest, most irksome man she’s ever encountered

Micayla is the last Zetithian female left in the universe. She doesn’t know what’s normal for her species, but she knows when she sees Trag that all she wants to do is bite him…

He has searched all over the galaxy for a woman like her

Trag has sworn he’ll never marry unless he can find a Zetithian female. But now that he’s finally found Micayla, she may be more of a challenge than even he’s able to take on…

About the Author

Cheryl Brooks is an Intensive Care Unit nurse by night and a romance writer by day. Previous books in The Cat Star Chronicles series include Slave, Warrior, Rogue, Outcast and Fugitive. She is a member of the RWA and lives with her husband and sons in Indiana. For more information, please visit her website.

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