I am at the stage in my current story (Friend or Foe – the last book in the Friends series) of ‘tidying up’. That is where you have written it and it is about the length you are aiming for but you need to check it for consistency. This relates to consistency of words, eg, are you in the correct tense (for instance, inner thoughts need to be first person and present tense) or if there is any repetition of words – I have a bad habit of over-using the word ‘realise’ and have to go through replacing it with other synonyms, and so on.
This provided some laughter when I got my last lot of edits back for Friendly Seduction due out in January. In the space of ten lines I had used the word hand/s eight times. Well, she had arrived at his apartment and was about to knock on the door. The action for that was to raise a hand. Her hand then trembled so she flexed her hand then raised her hand to touch her breast remembering what the hero had done to her last time with his hand. She then dropped her hand as she was getting too aroused but raised it again to knock on the door! You can see how I had repeated it so often so had to work out in the edits the best way of avoiding it with alternative words like fist (for knocking on the door – or just say she knocked), the feel of his touch on her breast instead of his hand and so on.
But it also refers to consistency in the story. It is these inconsistencies which provide the greatest laughs. I’ve just realised (sorry couldn’t resist) that I had my H/H already in the bedroom when he decided to fireman tackle her and stride with her into …. the bedroom…. which he is already in of course!
I nearly had the heroine wearing gloves until I remembered (or indeed realised!) that it was supposed to be the middle of summer.
I’ve had instances where the hero lifts the girl’s skirt/dress but then realised I had said she was in jeans earlier. I’ve had the same person in two different places (easily done with secondary or tertiary characters). Green-eyed in one place but blue-eyed elsewhere and so on.
I do plot my stories before I start – loosely plot them. That is to say I decide roughly how many chapters I want, what I want from the beginning and the end, at what stage action takes place so that I have some build up of sexual tension but bringing in sex scenes early enough and having enough of them. But I try not to make it too proscriptive as I love the spontaneous nature of writing. That is to say I love seeing where the characterisations or the action goes – sometimes quite different from what I had originally envisaged. In Submissive Training due out in February, the heroine turned out much more submissive than I had originally intended. I love starting a story with the H/H confronting each other with no idea of what the action is going to be other than they end up kissing by the end. As I write I visualise it like I am seeing it in a movie which I haven't seen before. It is really quite interesting what happens when you least expect it!
But by doing it this way I leave myself open to inconsistencies which need careful checking before it gets published. Hopefully they are all ironed out before you - the reader - gets to read the book!