My Writer's Journal

On Rewriting

November 30, 2012

I'm not a good writer. My first drafts are wretched. Not unreadable, really, but not anything you'd actually WANT to read. Honestly. But I fortunately have a very patient editor. She reads what I've sent and after a few weeks, sometimes months, I get a letter that almost always begins the same way: "Dear Carolyn, I have read (fill in the blank) and I love most of what you have written." MOST??? I want her to love all of it! But she does not. It takes me a little while to adjust to this news. I'm always surprised at what she doesn't love. I feel wounded. I can't at first imagine how I will ever turn these unloved pages into something we can both live with.

But here's the good news: I am a very good REwriter. I catch on fast. Once I get over my injured feelings, I get to work, tear the thing apart, perform major surgery and minor cosmetic facelifts. I obsess over it. I nurse it back to health. I begin to feel hopeful as my wretched draft begins to look and sound good. I read it aloud. Sounds good, too! Maybe it will work.

Last evening, after several weeks of obsessing, waking up in the middle of the night, I finished the rewrite of BEAUTY'S DAUGHTER and sent it off to Editor Julie. Shortly after, I received an email from another editor, forwarding the first review of VICTORIA REBELS, to be published January 1st. "This absorbing, fictionalized first-person of Queen Victoria's early life..." it begins, and goes on, glowingly, from there.
It's good to remember that the early draft of that novel was pretty much of a mess, too.

Fiction for Young Adults

Fiction for Young Adults
Dowdy Peggy White reinvents herself as a glamorous photographer, capturing memorable images during the 1930s Depression and 1940s World War II
Three gutsy girls go looking for adventure in the West in the 1920's
Anastasia and her three sisters are the privileged daughters of the richest man in the world, until their world begins to crumble.
YA Historical Fiction
What's it like to be the daughter of the most beautiful woman in the world? When Helen of Troy elopes with Paris, her daughter, Hermione, stows away on a Greek ship in search of her mother, hoping to bring her home--and perhaps to find a love of her own.
The future queen of England lives a life of privilege, but privilege comes with a steep price of isolation and loneliness--until she meets Albert.
She leaves Scotland as a child, is sent to France to marry the future king, returns to Scotland as a young woman to rule; a wild queen in a wild country.
First published in 1992, my first historical novel, has been reissued with a new cover.
Cleopatra has been chosen to be the next queen of Egypt, but she faces ruthless competition from her sisters. (Watch a video of Carolyn on this page)
The dizzying rise and horrific downfall of the last queen of France. Young Royals series
Who would not fall in love with--or at least have a mad crush on--young Will!
Marie van Goethen was a dancer in 19th century Paris and modeled for Degas's famous sculpture.
A fictionalized account of the early life of Charles Darwin, narrated by Charley himself.
Mozart's talented sister, Nannerl, struggles to achieve life she deserves--in music as well as in love.
Contemporary YA
Four characters, four big issues, four compelling stories: BECAUSE OF LISSA; THE PROBLEM WITH SIDNEY; GILLIAN'S CHOICE; THE TWO FACES OF ADAM

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