Making a Scene

I tore apart chapter 3 on my new Harlequin Presents manuscript yesterday after not writing for a week due to guests and life and a quick trip to Seattle for a bookclub visit and lunch with my son Jake on his 15th birthday.  I thought chapter 3 was great until I printed it out and read it and then I was like…oh, dear, not so great.  The action felt forced.  The plot points were waaaay too familiar.  The entire chapter was as authentic as synthetic fibers.

I knew I was going to need to tackle the problematic chapter but I wasn’t sure what the fix would be and so I had these imaginary conversations with myself, playing my writer friend Megan Crane/Caitlin Crews and me in some serious dialogue about writing HPs.  I pretended she was the one not happy with her chapter and she was coming to me for advice.  It sounds silly but it allowed me to detach from my book and approach the story problems intellectually instead of emotionally.  And this is what I came up with:

1)  If the scenes are forced and lacking authenticity, are these scenes even necessary?

2)  Is the scene feels too familiar, is there another way (or place) to convey the same information?

3)  If the action isn’t natural, what really needs to happen here?  What is the reader looking for?  What does the reader need at this point?

And I had answers, decent ones, but to make sure I wasn’t fooling myself I picked up the phone and called Megan to see what kind of advice she’d give me as as she’s read every Harlequin Presents I’ve ever written (see my stack of books on her bookshelf in the photo below) and she’s writing amazing Harlequin Presents as Caitlin Crews and I LOVE what she’s doing.

Megan's Books

Megan and I discussed my troubling chapter 3 and she pretty much said what I expected–if the scene isn’t working, there’s a reason why. And then we talked about the whys it wasn’t working and what HAD to happen in the story to move it forward.  You see, Harlequin Presents are special.  They’re not like any other romance genre, and the Presents reader knows this.  The Presents reader is an expert on the line, too. You’ve got to not just meet the reader’s expectations, but blow the reader away.  Thus, my struggles.  Thus my constant analysis:  does this work?  Is this amazing?  Is this the very best I can do?

I hung up the phone with a game plan, a goal for the chapter, and goals for every scene within the chapter and now I’m happily writing again and chapter 3 is nearly finished and put to bed.  I’ve got some rough draft scenes for chapter 4 but don’t anticipate writing much more this weekend as my big boys arrive today in Honolulu and I can’t wait to see them and hug them and have them with me for the next month.  I have missed those boys sooooooo soooooo much!

If you’re a writer, how do you know when a scene isn’t working?  And if you’re a reader, do you ever read something and think, ‘this doesn’t work’?  Or do you ever wish you could rewrite something you’ve just read?  Share your thoughts with me and I’ll draw two names from the comments below to win a Barnes & Noble gift card, a Hawaii Starbucks card, and some tasty treats from Hawaii.  This is a gift with some serious Aloha so talk to me and you’re entered!  The Making a Scene contest will run through Monday night midnight and I’ll announce the winners Tuesday morning.


  1. Those are some tough questions. As a reader, I would definitely say I’ve read things and thought something didn’t quite line up the way I thought it should. I actually really enjoy re-writing or thinking out alternate plots for characters I read about. I often think about continuations of a story once it’s over. I’m glad you were able to sort out chapter three. I’m sure it will be fantastic!

    I had a quick question for you. I am considering vacationing in Hawaii next month if I can pull it off financially. I guess it will be my “Flirting with Twenty Five” trip if I go because none of my friends can afford it right now so it would just be me, but I just keep thinking I want to go so I thought maybe I’ll just do it as sort of a graduation present for myself. Anyway, my question is what are some of the “must see” places in your opinion? I’m trying to come up with a list of things I’d want to do while I’m there if I end up going.


  2. I’m an avid reader who sometimes finds herself lost in a scene and wondering why it wasn’t cut by the editor. I’ve also found errors made were a certain character wasn’t supposed to be in that scene, say they declined the invitation, but then when you read the scence, that characters presence is mentioned at the gathering. As a non-published writer, just beginning her self-education in the writing world, these kind of errors help me learn the craft. Of course, I’ve never found any of the above examples in your books.:) So press forward Jane. You’ve had these struggles in the past, but the final outcome is always superb. Enjoy your time with “the big boys”!

  3. I can usually tell when I’ve gone over it dozens of times and still can’t make it flow with the rest of the book/chapter. It’s always so hard to cut something I’ve spent that much time on, though

  4. As a reader I think what bothers me the most is when an author presents a character to me and I think I know that character and then he/she acts in a way that I believe is completely opposite of what I feel that character would do. When this happens it takes me out of the story and then it’s much harder to get back into the story. If it keeps happening then I don’t finish the book.

  5. As a writer, what works for you will work for the reader. If it rings true for you, it will be the same for the reader. First instincts are there for a reason. Whether they are good or bad feelings, those instincts are your inner alert that something is out of the ordinary. The fact that you turned to someone whose own work you respect shows that you really care about your work and your readership. What a bonus that she is also an avid “Presents” reader!

    As I have always said, “Category Romance Rocks”! It is exactly what you want, just when you want it–most satisfying! There is an amazing range of diverse talent, story lines, and heat levels to be found in “categories”. This has always been true, and I should know since I still collect and read category romance from as far back as the 60’s. “Powerhouse read in a small package” is a good way to describe many of the category romances that I have read. They can be quite intense, but also funny, insightful, suspenseful, touching, memorable and interesting. Harlequin Presents is my favorite category romance line. I call them “the white covers”. I purchase recent releases and also still regularly haunt thrift shops, used book sales, yard sales & etc for book treasures. “Presents” are “heart with heat”. I also read “Blaze” and “Desire”, which are both “heat with heart”.

    Yes, I have read scenes which just didn’t feel right–sometimes they don’t make sense at all. It can be confusing when a story line detail or a name is used incorrectly. When that happens, I wonder how much of a rush to publication occurred. Something else that I have discovered as I have “gently matured” is that a “complete change of character” is not plausible, probable or interesting. “Shades of Gray” are much more intriguing for a character than a complete reversal or whitewash. Besides that, who wants a “sugar cookie” for a rogue? I’d rather have a Gingerbread Man : )

  6. I just read a book that I did enjoy, but several times throughout the book, I caught myself thinking, ‘where is this going and what is the need for this?’ There were some many pieces that didn’t belong and I felt had no meaning even being in the book. It was really weird. I really liked this paticular book but felt 2 or 3 of the chapters could have been wiped out and it would have been so much better. It’s really easy to just stop reading a book like that. I also get annoyed with bad endings. I like closure, don’t leave me hangin’ please! 🙂 I’m sure whatever you figure out to do with chapter 3, it will be brilliant, Jane! You are an amazing writer!! Enjoy the time with your boys!

  7. Hi Jane, for a long time now I have thought about trying to write a book but I get so intimidated that I start and stop and start and stop – ugh! I really don’t know how you do it and do it so well. The re-writing process must be really tough. Have fun with the big boys 🙂

  8. I love this sort of discussion!

    As a reader, a scene doesn’t work for me if the heroine goes in at Level 3 and comes out at Level 3. I need her to be more miserable or more ecstatically in love or more freaked out than when I first started reading the scene. I’m reading a book right now, a mystery that’s on Book 16 in a series, that I seriously think is ghostwritten because the heroine is just not emoting ANYTHING. When the series started, it was fantabulous. Now, I just want to read it when I can’t sleep.

    When I’m writing, or rather rewriting/reviewing, I know the scene doesn’t work when I find my attention wandering from my own work! Or, when the scene just isn’t fitting the tone of the book I started out writing. Or, when the scene is turning the book into something I don’t want to end up with (e.g., starting with a romantic fantasy and writing action adventure).

    Anywho. I’m glad Ch. 3 worked out for you, Jane. And thank you for those three scene questions!


  9. As a reader I’ve read books before that confused me as to why certain things happened that really didn’t make sense, but I’ve never felt like I could change them and make them better. I think a lot of people toy with the idea of writing a book, I know I have over the years. I just don’t think I have the discipline to be a writer, or the talent for that matter. I’ll just continue to be a reader and I’ll just add, I’ve always enjoyed your books and always anxiously await the next one. Have fun with all your boys.

  10. I find it most unfortunate when something doesn’t work in a book I’m reading…and it doesn’t have to be just a scene, it can be the whole book.

    I had a favourite author who wrote fabulous crime/suspense books in the ’90s and early 00’s. I avidly read everything she wrote and was really surprised to find she had a couple of books out that weren’t in this series (same heroine all the way through) and they were awful! Absolutely unreadable and it’s unusual for me not to finish a book. And, then to my dismay, the same horrible writing style and characters tainted the series I loved so much. I didn’t even buy the last two books she wrote because I was so turned off — and this was an author that I would have bought scribbles on a roll of toilet paper if she had been selling it!

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re working through your HP… and happy you fixed it before it poisoned the whole manuscript. Enjoy your time with your big boys… we always miss our kids so much when they’re not around.

  11. i seriously cant imagine all the dedication + imagination it takes to be a writer. i do sometimes find that writers need to add some “fillers” and i just tend to skip over them- when they go into WAYYYY too much detail over something not important to the story.

  12. WOW! I must be a very out of tune, immature reader. I never really have any problems with the way an author depicts certain scenes or characters. Now, I may not like their style, but I have never analyzed characters THAT much.

    I don’t know how in the heck you do what you do!

  13. As I reader, I get into a story like it is happening to me – I am living the story. When it feels false, I feel it right away and it spoils the book for me.
    Not that it has to be predictable, just real and done right. Sort of how someone explains art, “I know it when I see it” and with books it is the same, ” I know it when I read it” and if it is lame, then I stop reading!
    Jane, that is why I love your books. Even though the characters are nothing like me, I can “be” those characters because they are written with depth and truth and they bring me to places and a new truth that you create. Keep doing what you are doing!

  14. If and when I come across something like that I usually don’t try to figure out how I would fix it. I couldn’t fix it I’m sure.

    I love your books Jane and thanks for some great reading.

    Glad that phone call helped you.
    Continue writing for us, please.

  15. I don’t know how you do it!! Such a process; my hat is off to you, for sure.

    As a reader, I always wish there was a little more at the end to tie it all up for me; but that’s what leaves the reader wanting more, I guess. A sequel would tell me more and let me know how everyone “turned out”. When I read “Good Things” by Mia King, I was so happy to hear that “Table Manners” was already published so all I had to do was buy and read it to find out how Dierdre and Kevin fit together in the end…

    Sometimes when I am reading, I grow tired of the character’s flaw or hang-up being “beaten to death”, but it’s happened more than once, so I think that’s just me being impatient (embarrassed emoticon here…).

    Again, don’t know how you make it all work. But you’ve introduced me to some great authors and have really given my love of reading a shot in the arm. I consider myself “avid” (and often rabid) at this point and you’re one of the people I’ll thank for it!

    Have fun with the big boys and that adorable little tanned cherub on the surfboard this week. Aloha!!

    Hugs, Shannon in Tustin

  16. I have read scenes where I felt it’s not believable or doesn’t fit in with the rest of the book. I wish I could be creative enough to rewrite a scene, but it’s never happened.

  17. As a writer, I have so far to go that I really appreciate this type of post. 🙂

    As a reader, my greatest disappointment or stumbling block is when a character makes a choice that seems, well…out-of-character…and I can’t reconcile it even at the end of the book. This event is usually a major plot driver. If the protagonist makes a whopper mistake, it should still be consistent with her character.

    Can’t wait to read your upcoming release! Good luck!

  18. As an avid reader, I’m looking to see if the author takes the main characters into another plateau…if it’s the same ole same ole, then I’m bored and disappointed. This I think has happened with some of the “new york times bestselling authors” and it bums me out. They’ve got their name establised as these great authors (which they are) but, are caught up in pumping out the next big hit and I think they lose something in the process.

  19. As a reader I have gotten through books a lot. I love to read. It probably began when I was young and worked at a Library. I have come past a couple of books where I simply gave up. They did not catch my attention and was just to hard to make a sense of and read all the way through.

  20. As a reader, I have ran into this before. I have went back and reread scenes before trying to figuire out why this just didn’t work for me, rereading usually doesn’t help though. Most of the time I will finish the book but I have found a few books I just couldn’t get into at all, so I put it down, but I can only think of two books that was this way.

  21. There are books that I just can’t put down and keep to reread every time I feel down. And, then there are books that just don’t “grab” me and I have started giving every book I read the 21 page rule. I read the first 21 pages and if I have not gotten attached to the characters or involved in the plot, I stop reading. It should probably be the 1 page rule since the first page should draw the reader in immediately, but I want to like certain books and authors and give them a chance to get better if the first page does not “grab” me.

    As far as rewriting books I have read or doing editing, I have done a bit of both. I have read manuscripts and books and thought “what magic needs to happen here that is not happening?” My answer is this: it all boils down to the characters and if I want them to succeed or want to know more about them. Take your book Odd Mom Out: from the very beginning I was rooting for the mom. I wanted her to find happiness and understood where she was coming from immediately working from a home office and trying to raise a child. Another example: Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a favorite author of mine. I keep her books and reread them, except for a few like a new re-release Glitter Baby. I just could not get into that book, read the first 21 pages and it was just not happening. I did not care about the character and maybe it is the Hollywood scene, I don’t know really what it is. A book she wrote entitled Match Me If You Can starts out with the main character late for a meeting and finding a body under her car. Doesn’t sound that great when I write the bare bones, but the main character is named Annabelle and she calls her car Sherman and her appointment is with the Python and you learn all this in the first sentence. It only got better from there and I could not put the book down until I finished it.

    So I would say, “Good Characters!” That is the big draw for me and what I look for in a book. Good luck with the writing Jane and enjoy those fellows of yours!

  22. I think as a reader, I know that something is not working when I have to reread the chapter multiple times to try to get it. When this happens I tend to lose interest. I will try to read a few more chapters before I give up. There have been certain books that I have forced myself to read on and by the middle of the book I get it and enjoy finishing it.

    Good luck on your future chapters. You are a great writer, so I know what you end up with will be fantastic.

  23. I recently read a book and read the ending several times. I literally did not understand if I KNEW “who done it” or not. I went online and discovered a lot of readers who didn’t get it either. I love this woman’s books. I have read every one of them. But if it is that difficult to understand what the author means then it isn’t working.

    Sometimes the descriptive part of the novel is so long and well, yes, boring, then it is hard to care about the story. EVEN IF I like the story and characters.

    And lastly, if the heroine is TOO over the top and you sit there thinking…oh, c’mon…he should just leave her behind..enough is enough..yeah, all of that makes me reach for another book.

  24. As a reader Jane, I have read quite a few books over the past 30 years that have left me wondering ‘how did that ever get published’.
    You are right about the third chapter in a shorter book being the deciding factor. In a longer book I read until page 100. If the book doesn’t catch me by then it gets put down. Life is too short.

    Glad to hear the boys are coming to spend some time with you on the island before school starts again. I bet their little brother will be glad to see them again.

  25. I sometimes think a scene is added just for “filler” and that really irritates me. I don’t like to think I could have skipped 5-10 pages and not missed a thing.
    I hope you enjoy your boys this month. Summer is flying by!!

  26. As a reader I love the introduction of the characters and feeling like I truly get to ‘know’ them. In the scenes, I love feeling like I could place myself there and actually feel like I have been there and can see the action happening around me.

    I recently finished a book (The Cradle) that introduced characters that seemingly didn’t belong. I had no idea who they were, where they came from and what they had to do with the story. In the final couple of pages, the author cleaned things up well, but through the book these characters really didn’t make sense.

    That’s what I love about your books. I get a great introduction to the characters and get to know them in a way that I feel like I could be in the same room with them as you send them through their lives.

  27. As a reader, I have read several books where there does seem to be scenes and info that doesn’t seem to fit or be relative and I eventually put the book down and go pick up another one that will hold my interest. I have somewhat of a short attention span and there has to be something there to hold my attention instead of boring me. I heard a fitting comment this morning, ‘If you drill oil for too long, you’ll bore them’. 🙂

  28. When I write scenes, I pretend I am watching a movie in my mind, and then read out loud to make sure dialog works. When I am really stuck, I call a friend.

  29. Hi Jane,
    It’s interesting hearing the writers thoughts while she is writing…I enjoy the different point of view.
    Yes, I have been disappointed in a scene and wished it could be rewritten. I just finished a book and it was really good, until the end. The ending was weak and I felt the writer gave up. It just ended without enough details to support the ending. I hate when books do this – I enjoyed the whole thing until the end.

  30. Hi Jane,
    As a reader, I have been disappointed before. If I can tell something is there just as a filler or it isn’t working, I get bored and end up skiping pages or quit reading the book all together. Rest assured, I have never had that issue with any of your books! 🙂 I’m sure you will figure it out and it will flow like it should. At least you realize there is a problem, it’s better this way than having the readers realize it!
    Have fun with all of your boys, I bet you missed them like crazy!

  31. As both a reader and a writer I have experienced this! When reading some times I think…okay why did that happen? That has absolutley nothing to do with what is going on or it should have gone this way…

    As a writer I reread it and then like you did I have my trusted friend read it and see if it actually made sense or not. It’s hard work! But I know you will work it out!

    Enjoy your time with your Big Boys! What a magical time they will have!

  32. As a reader it is irritating when I read a book and feel I could skip 10 pages and not have missed anything. It’s weird to have random things thrown into a book that seem to have no meaning or business being there. Usually when I read a book like that, my mind ends up wandering and I skim (and then skip) multiple pages. I guess I feel, why waste my time? 🙂 Well, and to be honest, my attention span is very short!! Luckily I have only read 2 books that I have felt that way about. I think you do a wonderful job at keeping the readers attention and I never feel like you have “filler” in your books. I think you are really hard on yourself and I bet your chapter 3 isn’t as bad as you think it is!! 😉

    Enjoy those precious boys and have a safe trip home!

  33. I’m reading something right now that I think would be better re-written. It’s one of those books where I’m wondering who the heck the hero is and it’s a romance – not a mystery. Books like that are frustrating for me.

  34. Hi!I just started reading this book and I’m so disappointed for she’s one of my have to get her book,sure glad I bought the book at the flea market so I didn’t spend alot of money, for money is tight for me now.I found some of your present books and I didn’t know you even wrote them, also I never read them either. I’m glad that your spending time with your boys, and Happy birthday to your 15yr. old. Also glad that your back on track with your writing,your a good writer and you only want to give us readers the best you can give, and I applaude that in a writer. Have a wonderful month with your boys…

  35. Hi Jane. There are times when I read something and I am confused and wonder about where it fits in. But, I don’t think about how to fix it. I just continue on reading the story.
    I love your books.

  36. I don’t read a whole lot, but when I get started with a new book and it just doesn’t jive, I give it chance then make my decision right then and there if I want to continue. There’s so much to writing and I just don’t know how you can have so much going on in your life and put out some great work all at the same time. I would be so distracted especially with a family and their needs. Thanks for the insights and have a wonderful time with your complete family…I know how happy you are now with everyone together.

  37. For me, a scene isn’t working when the dialogue feels unnatural and the scene itself just awkward. I have scenes where certain info/action has to happen (she must offer him money to help her) but the dialogue is so forced and contrived, the whole thing is still a clunker. (In fact, I’m still massaging that scene to make it work.) If I can’t get it by the fourth try, then I look at dumping it completely. If it’s taking this much effort to make it work for me, clearly I’m just forcing it through. I’ve recently realize I have to dump my first 50 pages entirely b/c the story starts on page 52 when the h/h are in the same logistical place. Doing this makes the reveal of the hero’s real intentions much more gasp worthy, but sets me up to do a lot of work on sections I’ve already worked on a lot and also dump sections I’ve rewritten (beautifully :-)) a number of times for the good of the whole story. I’m more confident every time I think about making this move, but I’m not looking forward to it. I figure I’ll put that cut chapter on my website someday (soon I hope!) as a teaser chapter.

    Good luck with the rewrites! Be confident that you’ve examined the work objectively and are plowing forward in the right direction. Enjoy your time with your boys.

  38. Hi Jane,
    There have been many times that I have read books that have had a delicious story line then the book ends, wrapped up too neatly. It leaves me feeling cheated. That exact thing happened to me over the weekend when I finished another book. I had been waiting to read this book, thoroughly enjoyed the read and then the ending wrapped up so quickly, with only a page, I felt bitter. After all that build up then a one page ending. Not cool. I felt like as a reader I deserved more.

    I love your writing and I am still searching my B&N store for your next Harlequin!

    Be well and happy summer!

  39. I continue to be impressed that you can manage to do so much writing on your “working vacation.” We readers appreciate it!

    Perhaps it’s just filler, but I do get impatient with a character who oversteps angst and slips into whining. Real women are busy, and don’t have pages and days to whine about something. Life intrudes into even the most agonizing situations. That’s what I appreaciate about “Mrs. Perfect”, which I have had my own teen-age daughter read. Life really had to go on, as the character solved her problem.

  40. Jane,

    As an avid reader of romance novels and movie scripts, I have read many that have totally thrown me for a loop with the storyline. I wonder how they ever made it past the slush pile. When I’m reading a chapter/scene and I feel the need to reread it just to figure out what the hell it was about, that’s a sign of an author/screenwriter rushing the story just to reach the end. I’m sorry that it causes you to suffer with stress and pain as to what goes into your novel. Please don’t’ be mad, but I’m so happy and glad you suffer, because of your suffering you’re a great author and I know any that any title with your name on it will be a fantastic read. Your work shows you care. It’s great that you put time into planning each and every novel to make it special. As a writer I enjoy reading novels not just for pure enjoyment, but also because it gets my mind going 100 miles per hour with new story ideas. My guess is you’ve been suffering from the same problem with every one of your books and it will continue till the end of time. If not, then you’d be like other (name withheld) well known authors who have become so relaxed in their work and their work suffers because of it. I’ve bought books just because of the author being so famous and let me tell you, it’s like Russian roulette with my hard earned money. Never knowing if I will enjoy the book. But with your books, it’s a sure deal. Keep on doing what you do best, writing great fiction.

  41. As a reader sometimes I read a book and tell myself that a scene is not good – sometimes I feel like there is no need for the scene or that it’s way too long (and then I find myself skipping part of the story) or too short and I feel like the author forgot to tell the reader some information.
    Another thing- a lot of times I find myself thinking about ways to change the story- make it more interesting to me or just change some of the plot in my head.
    Good luck with writing chapter 4 of your new Harlequin 🙂

  42. It annoys me when a major plot turn is based on someone (usually the heroine) acting like an idiot or being ‘stubborn.’ That’s insulting to the reader and, I think, just plain lazy. When that happens I stop reading and go find another book.

  43. I’m a reader. I’ve read several of those book in the picture above and i agree on the wow factor. Alot of people say of those little harlequin books aren’t worth reading and i used to think the same thing but i was wrong. If you can read one and feel at the end as if you’ve really read a fulfilling book ( if that’s the right word) it’s means it was well written and balanced book. I have read parts of a book and thought What??? what??? i try to move on and ignore it though so it doesn’t ruin the rest of the book. I am a person who once i start reading i have to finish a book so ignoring that part helps as long as it isn’t more than once or twice. If you find it alot of a certain authors books then you have to decide whether you really want to read anymore of their books.

    Does that make sense. I don’t know that I’ve ever had to do that ignore trick when reading one of your books Jane. Is this where a good editor help you?

    Have a great week!

    Lisa B

  44. Wow, Jane! These are some great questions. There are so many times I have read a book and been really upset about the ending that I think about it for days! It does make me wonder, what was the author thinking??? Why make the character go through such drama to have the book end a certain way. (I do have to say though, I have never had this feeling after reading one of your books:-) I don’t like reading a book that leaves you hanging at the end. I like closure and a happy ending LOL!

    Happy writing and Happy 15th Birthday to Jake!

  45. As a writer, sometimes it is almost as if I can feel that it’s wrong as I write! Trudging through and beating the crap out of the page until I get something. Then I read it and it’s awful. But somewhere along the way it sets me up for the “real” scene that needs to be written.

  46. Hi Jane! Happy belated birthday to Jake!! As a reader, I really hate it when I come across some bad dialogue – either if it just doesn’t flow or if it’s ridiculously corny. Bad dialogue will stick out like a sore thumb, and if I’m really sucked into a book, it’ll jolt me and distract me to no end. But I’ve never had this problem with any of your books!

    Oh, and I loved Megan Crane/Caitlin Crews’ debut HP!

  47. As an avid reader, I find that many times it may not be an entire scene, but something that is so out of character for the characters it just doesn’t ring true. Consistent characterization is so important and if there is a big change, then there has to be a darn good reason why. I hate out of the blue character shifts!

  48. Hola Jane!

    I am so glad you are the expert writer because I would have just thrown my hands up in the air and had a major fit.

    This is why I enjoy reading your books because it is not just about writing words down for you, you want to make sure your reader gets it the first time and there is no need for rereading the page just to understand it.

    If the words don’t capture me from the beginning, it will take me forever to read and then I will only read it if I have nothing better to do. I want to read because I want to not need to.

    Can’t wait for the final copy.

  49. I’m always interested in what got “left out”. I enjoy reading papers/documents that are “in progress” where revisions are seen above the cross-outs: i.e. Jefferson changing “subjects” to “citizens”… Powerful thought processes. Unfortunately, computers clean up the changes and we are left with only the completed pieces.

  50. What makes me stop and go huh? is when it tests credibility. I may like the writing style and flow of the story but when something is said or happens that wouldn’t normally or seems out of place, it takes me out of the story. If the writing is good, I just continue reading. If the writing was iffy to begin with,I just stop or if I do finish the book, that one “off” thing will be what i’ll remember. How to resolve it? not sure — more research? more reviews? For most books, I believe that is done already.

  51. you really open a can of worms with this topic. but it’s timely for me because I’m editing a friend’s ms. before she sends it off with a query letter. And i’m not sure how to explain my gut instinct feel for the story. it’s a great premise, good characters, no false conflicts. BUT, in some of her scenes the dialogue is flat, there’s a touch too much inner dialogue, and some minor goal/motivation issues. But she’s a new writer; I am amazed how weak some of the plots and motivations are in some of the latest big name author books right now. Someone above mentioned just pushing out book after book to make the sales, and it’s only reader loyalty that keeps them in the game. But I shouldn’t be getting that confused! But I think if you had to trace the big booboo, you’ll find it within the first fifty pages. And maybe authors try to fix it without a complete rewrite, but that usually doesn’t work. just my humble opinion.

  52. Hey Jane,
    A day late! Oh well!

    I have always thought about writing… Maybe some day I will get inspired to do it… rather gain the courage. You write so well! You are truely amazing! I am so Glad you write!

    As a reader, I agree with the Library Lady… “Good Characters!”, make the book! I Love all your characters! Jackie, Marta, Tiana, and … I love them all.

    Can’t wait for Shey’s Story,”She’s Gone Country”.

    I didn’t realize how many Harlequin Presents you have written. Where have I been? I better get busy reading…HP’s.

    I enjoyed Megan Crane’s “Names My Sisters Call Me”. I had thought about taking that writing course she was offering this summer. I am so busy and my son with his on-line summer courses he is taking. My plate was becoming quite full. I am still interested in the writing conference in Oct.

    Wishing you the Best! You can do it!

    Enjoy All Your Boys!!!

  53. Hi everyone,

    Apologies for not posting contest winners yesterday but couldn’t get a good internet connection in the morning and then we spent the afternoon and evening on Oahu’s North Shore and didn’t get back until late. Surfer Ty took the afternoon off to be with us and I couldn’t put work before family!

    However, the three (yep, I upped it to 3 winners) winners are:

    #4 Maureen
    #29 Sandy
    #46 Denise

    Please send me your mail address soon and I can get your fun Aloha goodies and gift cards out in the next mail!!


  54. congrats to the 3 winners, I was cossing my fingers, I’d be picked for my week has been lousy but thats the way it goes. I’m glad that you spent time with Ty and the boys, glad your having fun with them. Enjoy your time with family! Have a wonderful time…

  55. Thanks so much, Jane!!! I’ll send you an email now! Hope Chapter 4 is cooperating with you, and that you’re having fun with all your boys! =)

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