So I am not quite, but very close, to having written as far as I ever have in A Gift of Grace. In other words, I’ve gotten past where I left off in the first version, almost to where I left off in the second version, and past where I left off in the third version. I’m calling that good news. Except I keep thinking I should be done and then discovering that I’m nowhere close.
I suspect that the editing of this one is going to be more challenging than I want it to be, too, because after so many versions, I don’t always remember what’s still in and what’s out. I am definitely going to need good beta readers who are willing to call me out on my screw-ups. That there are screw-ups is basically guaranteed.
And that said… I told my dad on Friday that I was pretty sure Grace is the best thing I’ve ever written. Obviously, I’m not done yet, so I could still screw it up. Equally obviously, my opinion isn’t really worth all that much. I know these characters really well now. Whether a reader who hasn’t lived through all the versions will feel like she or he knows them equally well is still totally up in the air. I won’t know that for a while. I might not ever know that if it turns out to be like The Wedding Guests in terms of getting very few reviews. It might be a total mystery to me forever. But that’s okay. Sort of.
I did realize that one of my ongoing problems, apart from the truly crazy over-abundance of characters, has been time and the passing thereof. I wanted this book to be like Ghosts in terms of taking place over months and having a romance that was a slow and plausible real build. People don’t fall in love in two days. They fall in infatuation and love is what happens over the course of time. Akira and Zane have, to me, real love. They met, were attracted, flirted, started bonding, slept together, kept bonding, spent a lot of time together, enjoyed one another’s company, liked one another for their differences, faced danger together, and live happily ever after. Grace and Noah might end this book at closer to attracted, flirted, started bonding… because 45,000 words into it, Noah has spent a single night in Tassamara. In book time, he met Grace yesterday. That is not love. We might be closer to a Happy For Now ending than a Happy Ever After ending. (And that said, I suspect that this is a problem of all romantic suspense. I’ve not really started examining timelines for my favorite books, but I suspect that ten days from first meeting to together & in love is pretty typical for novels, even if it is a terrible idea for real life.)
But I’m not letting that realization bother me. This book is very definitely not what I thought it was going to be, not what I wanted it to be. It doesn’t match the outline that I wrote for it (in 2013!) at all, with the sole exception of having a hero who hears ghosts and thinks he’s crazy. I’m not even sure that the title works anymore. But all of that is okay, too. Onward!