"You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair, the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page." ~Stephen King
I'm in the process of trying to revise Entwined, with the goal of submitting it to Samhain by the end of March. Originally, it was 80K words long and I was thinking of targeting a different publisher. In the last few months, though, and especially since looking at it again, I've changed my mind. Soooooo I'm trying to go back through and tighten. It's tough, but I'm making some progress. The biggest thing I've found is that it drags in places. A lot. I haven't looked at it in probably a couple of months, which is valuable time away, because it's allowing me to cut large sections and "kill my babies."
Conflict on every page.
I read an article once that talked about this - and conflict doesn't have to be gun-slinging action or tormenting mind games. But it does have to be a nugget of intrigue that makes the reader turn to the next page. This, I've found, is what Entwined lacks the most right now. I think this is partly because I originally thought of it as a "literary romance" which means I could dwell on the lovely language rather than the forward movement of the plot (literary fiction tends to be character-driven a little more than plot-driven, allowing for that). But now I'm realizing that it lacks in compelling plot - and so this is where my focus lies now.
Bottom line: it is so important to put a draft of your book away when you finish it. You'll never get distance from it otherwise, and that distance is crucial in being objective about what it needs, and what's already beautiful :)
Have a great Monday!