This month marks the publication of my 90th book, The Baby Dilemma, the eighth entry in my Safe Harbor Medical series for Harlequin American Romance. As you can imagine, I’ve learned a lot about writing since my earliest books.
In revising older titles prior to releasing them as ebooks, I knew I’d need to update the technology (such as cell phones) and cultural references. But along the way, I discovered how much my writing skills have grown. Here’s a sample of the changes I’ve made.
A Lady’s Point of View. This Regency romance (set in the era of Jane Austen) was first published by Harlequin in 1989. The story involves a nearsighted young lady who gets on the wrong carriage and is mistaken for a governess—and decides she prefers that role to rusticating at home. I tell my writing students not to head-hop, or switch back and forth in viewpoint. Imagine my dismay on discovering I’d done exactly that in several scenes, and in a book that has the term Point of View in the title! Of course I rewrote those scenes. By the way, I’ve priced this ebook at 99 cents to introduce readers to my half-dozen Regencies.
By Leaps and Bounds. This 1990 story focuses on an injured ballerina striving for a comeback while falling in love with the policeman father of one of her students. Harlequin liked it so much they reprinted it in 2010. I figured all it needed for the ebook edition was a little updating. But when I reached the ending, I wanted more emotional impact, so I rewrote the last scene.
Unlikely Partners. I still love the premise of this 1987 romantic comedy. Shy librarian Sarah Farentino gets involved in solving a mystery with the handsome fiancé of a missing heiress and fears she’s losing her heart to a man who loves someone else. In revising it and the sequel, Capers and Rainbows (the story of the heiress herself), I made the writing much funnier. My comic timing and voice have improved more than I realized.
Some ebooks required only minor changes. These include the paranormal romantic thriller Touch Me in the Dark, my mysteries Danger Music and The Eyes of a Stranger, and my fantasy Shadowlight.
By contrast, I decided not to reissue half a dozen other titles at all, because the premises seemed either out of date or just not exciting enough. If you’re curious, you’ll find a list of these titles at www.jacquelinediamond.com/books.
I now teach writing through LongRidgeWritersGroup.com, and have gathered my accumulated wisdom in the ebook How to Write a Novel in One (Not-so-easy) Lesson. But I learn something new with each book, and I hope that never stops!
The author of 90 published novels, Jacqueline Diamond writes the Safe Harbor Medical miniseries for Harlequin American Romance. A former Associated Press TV columnist and recipient of a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times Magazine, Jackie has put together writing tips in the ebook How to Write a Novel in One (Not-so-easy) Lesson. Please visit her website, www.jacquelinediamond.com, and follow her on Twitter @jacquediamond.