I’m in the process of having a novel edited so I can submit it for publication. My editor believes in an honest yet gentle approach, except not really the gentle part.
She recently commented on a line between the heroine and her love interest, “This sounds like Nicholas Sparks. Try again.”
It was not a compliment. I’m pretty sure that if I ever read a Sparks novel, I’d dislike it. In retaliation, I sent her four rewrites of the paragraph… just to show her how much worse it could have been.
Original paragraph (or its approximation, anyway; I’m not posting the actual text or character names):
Rachel said hesitantly, “I don’t know why you’re still here. But at least I can apologize before you leave. I know it’s not enough.” She couldn’t tell if he was even listening to her. “I’m sorry I lost… I burned the letter. I can’t ever get it back for you. But it wasn’t because I didn’t care about you. It was because I cared too much. Way too much.”
She couldn’t tell if he was even listening to her. “I’m sorry I lost… I burned the letter. I would do anything, Jacob. I’d move heaven and earth to get it back for you! But it wasn’t because I didn’t care about you. It was because… I love you, Jacob. Too much. Too desperately. Too completely.”
She couldn’t tell if he was even listening to her. “When I burned the letter, my heart burned too, into ashes. I can’t get the letter back for you, but… my heart can flame into life again. For you.”
She couldn’t tell if he was even listening to her. “I’m sorry I lost the letter…”
“You didn’t lose it. You burned it.” Jacob looked up. Tears glimmered in his dark eyes. His voice broke. “How could you, the one person I thought I could trust with my very soul, do that to me?”
“It wasn’t because I didn’t care about you!” she cried in anguish. “It was because… I care more for you than anything else in heaven and earth!”
She couldn’t tell if he was even listening to her. “I’m sorry I lost… I burned the letter.”
He didn’t look at her. “I know.”
“How can you ever forgive me?”
Jacob wheeled to face her. He pulled her to him and wrapped his arms around her, crushing her to him. Covering her lips with his, he kissed her passionately. Her heart beat wildly as the ecstasy overcame her.
He released her and turned away. “Don’t mention it again,” he said, his voice raspy with emotion.
The Editor was unfazed by my vengeance. She merely wrote back and said, “Maybe you should write romance novels.”
Well, I could! Oh, with a straight face. Never mind, I’ll just get back to work on this one.