Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'd like to welcome Emily Bryan to Killer Fiction again. Today, Emily is blogging about something I think every writer and woman deals with: self doubt. She also telling you bit about her new book. Oh, and she's also giving away a book to one lucky poster. So make sure you post! Take it away Emily.

Kill the editor!

No, no, I’m not talking about my editor at Leisure Books. Leah is sharp, insightful and a jewel to work with.

I’m talking about the cast iron witch who makes me doubt my every idea, who whispers that my premise is unworkable, who tells me to tear up what I wrote yesterday, redo the secondary plot and while I’m at it, why not turn the whole story into a paranormal/chicklit/suspense/category/erotic inspirational because they’re so darn hot right now?

See why I’m homicidal? That’s right. I want to kill the editor who lives in my head.

She’s never satisfied. She makes me rethink every sentence, every word choice, because there’s always a better way to tell the story. The infuriating thing is, she’s usually right, but my internal editor’s constant interference slows my writing to a crawl. Sometimes, a backward crawl.

It probably doesn’t help that I was catching up with a writing friend last week who told me she recently had a 70 page writing day! While I was scraping my chin from the floor, she went on to say that she finished her entire 400 page manuscript in 16 mortal days!

Any day I exceed 10 pages, it’s time to alert the media.

It’s a good thing she’s my friend or I’d snatch her bald-headed.

Do I suffer from writer’s block? No, I don’t think so. I know my characters. I know my plot points. I know what needs to happen next. The story is there, locked safely in my head in all its glory.

I think I suffer from “word constipation.” For some writers (like my highly prolific friend), words flow like water from a tap, gushing freely. I, on the other hand, get stuck priming the rusty pump, because my internal editor pulls me back to correct or re-write or slash and burn.

I know it’s possible to quiet the editor. I’ve had a few days when I was “in the zone.” I filled pages with ease. I couldn’t put a word wrong. But those times have been few and even then, 16 pages in a day is my personal best.

If I’m honest, I’ll admit I don’t really want to kill my internal editor. I need her when it’s time for polishing. But how do I get her to kick back and have a mojito while I’m trying to push the story forward?

And now I’d like to share a few early reviews about one of my stories that’s finished (yeah, yeah, thanks in large part to my irritating internal editor!). VEXING THE VISCOUNT will hit the bookstore shelves on February 24th!

“Emily Bryan has done it yet again. Vexing the Viscount is a grand romp that anyone that loves a fun romance will not want to miss! Daisy Drake is not your conventional young English Miss, and after all who would be when one was raised by Pirates! Now if that alone doesn’t wet your appetite, throw in the hunt for an ancient Roman treasure and a masquerade as a famous French Courtesan, and a darkly handsome Viscount and how could one possibly pass this one up?”
~NightOwl Romance Reviews Top Pick!

“Emily Bryan's Vexing the Viscount is not your ordinary historical romance. It's fresh, well written and chalked full of the unexpected, the spectacular, and the intriguing. If you're not drawn in by the heroine and her fiesty nature in the first few pages, you're obviously not a true historical romance fan.”

“One of the most wickedly fun reads I have had in quite some time. Terrific!”
~Detra Fitch—Huntress Reviews

Thanks so much for having me here at KillerFiction! I love this blog and all the wildly inventive authors who are regular contributors (especially Christie Craig, who recently tried to help me bust my stitches after my December surgery by sending me her insanely funny DIVORCED, DESPERATE & DATING!) I appreciate the chance to visit with your readers. And I’d also like to give away a copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT to someone who leaves a comment or question here today. And please check back tomorrow to see if YOU are the winner.


Anonymous said...

Emily, It is a hoot going to all these different sites, But I am finding I am now filling up "my favorites" column quickly , so I can go back and re-visit them later.
Ok my first experiance with this writing idea was at RT last year, where over and over we heard, just sit down and write, most people described it as spewing up pages. (sorry it sounds terrible)My problem is I cant do this I write a chapter then I go back to fix, edit, rewrite, whatever. To me the SP idea is like making a gourmet dinner and not cleaning up the kitchen, it drives me crazy, I cant do it. So yes like you I have a rusty pump to in my office! LOL!

Refhater said...

I can't wait until Feb 24th for your new book to come out. Congrats on your success!

Christie Craig said...


This is one great post. I'm normally a quick writer, but I've suffered from the "word" constipation a time or two.

Vexing the Viscount sounds wonderful.

And thank you so much for being with us today.

Anonymous said...


What a great post, and yep, I totally get what you're saying about "word constipation." I don't think of myself as a fast writer but when a deadline is looming, it's funny - the words just start to flow.


EmilyBryan said...

Jane L-I wish I could write a full chapter before I go back and edit. I'm lucky if I get a paragraph without being sucked backward. One thing that has helped is setting a 10 minute timer (I can't go longer) and forbidding myself from going back until the ding. If I limit myself to writing dialogue-- no narrative, not even tags or quotation marks--I find I can shove the story ahead while satisfying myself that I'm self-editing when I go back to add those missing things. (I went back to rewrite a sentence in this response!)

Refhater--Thanks! I'm pumped!

Christie--Thanks for having me. I love this blog. There's always something witty and wicked here.

EmilyBryan said...

Faye--Because I know myself, I can't wait till the deadline is looming. I have to plan to type THE END at least a month ahead of my deadline, just to make sure I'm safe.

And so I can lay it aside for a week and then start going through it again until the deadline arrives.

Anonymous said...

As always, an interesting blog!
I have had a wonderful time reading all of your blogs and like Jane L above, I have favorited a lot of these blogs.
I might actually make it out to see you at the Farmington CT booksigning next week :-D. Would be nice to meet you face to face!

Keri Ford said...

Ew. I hate these moments where the word just doesn't seem right and it stops you in your tracks. I've started doing ???? where the word I'm looking for just won't come.

That seems to work better for my inner editor than to put the wrong thing in.

I also put in my biggest word count days when I focus mostly on the dialogue and telling the story.

Julie Robinson said...

Beautiful reviews, Emily.
I must say that if I'm impatient, how must you be waiting for your release date?! Chewing at the bit, I would suppose. Blogging like this is an excellent way to fill in the time and build up the anticipation.

Gemma Halliday said...

I have to plan to type THE END at least a month ahead of my deadline, just to make sure I'm safe.

So, can you give some lessons to all of us procrastinator types? I usually type "the end" the day my book is due. Lol! I SO wish I was a better planner.

Your book sounds great! Thanks for coming to play with us!


Tai said...

Thank you once again for sharing your honest and funny perspective! I understand your internal editor personally. I can normally only write a few paragraphs at a time due to mine.
Thanks for all your blogs too. I have been reading them here and there. They've been a positive diversion to my days, given things to think on.

catslady said...

I know she's your friend but maybe her 400 pages in 16 days are not as good as your 10 pages a day - just saying lol. I have no self confidence and a bit of OCD so it would take me forever to do what you guys do and I give you tons of credit.

Your book sounds wonderful since historicals are my favorite!!

Suzan Harden said...


Vexing the Viscount sounds like a lot of fun. What made you come up with the heroine raised by pirates (other than a Johnny Depp fetish)?

EmilyBryan said...

Rachel--I'm glad you'd bookmarking KillerFiction. It's a great site and I urge you to try all the authors here.

I hope you can join me for the ROMANCE & CHOCOLATE GROUP SIGNING on Feb 7th from 2-6PM! I'll be joining Stella Price, Cat Johnson, Tilly Greene, Isabelle Santiago, Allie Boniface, Jessica Andersen, Kristan Higgins, Marie Force, Tori Andrews, and Annette Blair for some pre-Valentine fun!

Borders Books
1600 South East Road
Farmington, CT 06032

Hope to see you there!

Keri--??? good idea.

Julie--Reviews are both gratifying and terrifying. Some authors claim to ignore them all, but we're fiction writers. We lie about other things too.

Gemma--Whatever you're doing is working for you, girl! Your books are such a hoot! I wouldn't change a thing.

Tai--I guess you and I can console ourselves that once we reach THE END, we are pretty much done. My tweaks after that are minimal--maybe one change in 20 pages. Until my REAL editor gets back to me with revisions! LOL!

Catslady--Everyone's brain works differently. Mozart composed in his head and when he finally wrote his pieces down it was like taking dictation. Beethoven, on the other hand, worked and re-worked and tinkered and obsessed over his music and left us reams of notebooks to document his laborious process. They were both geniuses. The how doesn't matter as much as the end result.

EmilyBryan said...

Suzan--Daisy Drake, the heroine in VEXING THE VISCOUNT, appears as a plucky 10 year old in PLEASURING THE PIRATE. She's one of my hero's 5 orphaned neices. She was such a corker as a kid, I knew she'd make a good heroine once she grew up enough to have her own story.

Julie Robinson said...

I definitely recommend reading Pleasuring the Pirate, Susan, to get acquainted with Daisy as a kid. She's fun and stands out, so you just know she's GOT to have her own story! Julie

ScorpJen1121 said...

Your such a hoot emily! Can't wait to hear more from you : )

EmilyBryan said...

Julie--Thanks for giving my PIRATE a little push! Even though VEXING THE VISCOUNT and PLEASURING THE PIRATE are related titles with a few shared characters, I tried to make sure they'd each stand alone.

Jen--I hope I'll be able to be funny this summer. I just found out I'll be giving my NEUROTICA workshop (about adding comedy to your prose) at RWA Nationals!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the comments and really like reading Emily's books. I have added this one to my TBR list.

Estella said...

Love the "word constipation".
Vexing the Viacoubt sounds great!

EmilyBryan said...

Joye--Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoy Vexing the Viscount!

Estella--I guess I came up with "word constipation" because I didn't want to contemplate the dreaded "Writer's Block." And I really do think they are two different things. In one, the story comes slowly as I search for the best way to tell it. In the other, there is no story. There is only an empty screen flickering. ('Scuse me while I shudder in horror.)

Jane said...

When you suffer from "word constipation," how do you deal with it? Do you take a break and get away from writing or do you sit until the words flow?

EmilyBryan said...

Jane-I often try to push through it, going slowly. But taking a break can help. While walking my dogs or folding a load of clothes, I can try out different possibilities in my mind.

Sometimes, I change the POV character and that makes the scene flow correctly. Or I'll start in a different place.

Setting the timer and writing diaglogue helps too.

Unknown said...

Definitely putting this blog on my favorites list.
Good reviews for your book, Emily.
Congratulations! I haven't read any of your books, but will definitely be looking for one of them the next time I go to the bookstore.
That's why I like these blogs. I get to find authors who are new to me.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Man, can I identify with this! I too have to pull the words from within most days. I am in awe of those authors who can just "spew" :)

EmilyBryan said...

Ruby--Getting to know the owners of the fabulous blogs on my tour is a great perk of doing this 50day/50blog marathon. I encourage you to check out My Events page to visit blogs you may have missed.

Jenyfer--What a unique spelling! My baby sister is a Jennifer.

My friend Charlotte Hubbard, who writes sweet "prairie" romances for Leisure, says she just makes her fingers keep moving, even if what she's typing is "This is crap, this is crap. . ." She assures me that eventually, something worth keeping comes out.

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks so much for letting me vent here, Killer Fiction! Glad to hear so many of my blog touristas are "favoriting" you.

Courtesy of my DH, our winner today is ESTELLA! Please contact me through with your mailing info.

I hope you'll all join me today as I take a stroll down memory lane. I'm visiting OzarkRomanceAuthors, my old writing group from when I lived in Missouri. I'm still a distance member of this splendid group. Of course, even when I lived there, I was sort of a distance member since they were 2 hours from my home. But it was always worth the trip to make the Saturday meetings!

Hope to see you soon! Or as we say in the Ozarks, Hope to see "you'uns" soon.

Anonymous said...

Wow - that first sentence had me going for a minute. I love the 10-minute timer idea! I feel like I used to be able to write in a flow, but then journalism classes gave me that dreaded internal editor, too. And suddenly it's: Is this too wordy? I'm being clear enough? Is this the tone I'm want to convey? It's horrible. I struggle to write 10 lines of cover copy. I honestly can't imagine how writers get through 400pages. I am completely in awe of you. And, as annoying as she may be, your external editor appreciates your internal editor very much ;-)