I met with my critique group last night. They're reading through The Outlaw Bride and it's going pretty good. For the most part there are only minor changes. A relief given how many times I've rewritten or edited this manuscript. I got to thinking last night after I got home about the evolution of this story. I remember I came up with the idea on vacation in the Dominican. It looked entirely different than what it ended up being and I had a different look and feel for the character of Connor. He was dark and brooding then. Now he's lighter, funnier and sexy as hell. Shame I can't haul him into real life.
The story went through so many variations one of these days when it's all said and done, I really will have to dig out my original notes and draft and have a good laugh. There was a point when I gave up on the story. Set it aside. I wasn't feeling it. Wasn't sure where I was going with it. Where it was taking me. I loved the character of Connor and I could see the book had the potential to spin off into several others, but something wasn't right, and I couldn't figure out what.
Then came the request from HQN to see the full. I was hardly going to pass up that opportunity. I went back to finish writing it. More twists and turns, more rewrites, more mistakes, more corrections. And somewhere in there I fell in love with it. The characters came alive. They dug their way out of the mess I had made and started putting things to right. And before I knew it, the story had become one I loved.
I said to one of my critique partners when she mentioned the manuscript was ready to be sent out as it was that a part of me didn't want to let it go because that meant it was finished and I had to leave the characters behind. They've been with me so long it seems hard to imagine. I've created other characters in that time, ones I can't wait to delve into who have their own stories to tell, but these two--Connor and Kate--will definitely stay with me for a long time to come.
I'm looking forward to printing off the final copy of The Outlaw Bride and just being able to sit down and read it as a book, no editing required.
Better yet, I'm looking forward to the day when I can pick it off the bookshelf at Chapters, run through the aisles like a mad woman yelling, "Look what I did! Look what I did!"
At which point Connor and Kate will likely disavow any knowledge of me.