What do you do when one trusted friend tells you to scrap the first chapter of one of the stories you plan on entering in the 2012 GH?

If it’s a chapter you love, chock-full of hilarious lines and
you’re not ready to hear the fateful directive to “chop it,” you seek a second opinion.

And when the Starcatcher sister offering said second opinion concurs, saying that she, too, thinks the beginning makes both hero and heroine look less-than-heroic …

Well, you bite the bullet and cut your beloved first chapter, which began life as a prologue to begin with. (I should have known that no one would be fooled by my slapping it with a “Chapter 1” header.)

It wasn’t easy to cut a chapter that starts out like this: “When Melinda’s now-ex-fiancé admonished her to grow up, she doubted playing tonsil hockey with a man old enough to be her father was what he’d had in mind.”

Okay, maybe a wee bit of “ick factor” lurks in that beginning. (Thanks, Anna, for putting your finger on that one. It may be why I didn’t final in the Rubies’ first line contest this time.)

Finally, I was willing to admit to myself that the pages didn’t paint either of them in the best light — even though they you see right away that Mel was overexaggerating Dave’s age.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t as painful as I expected. I plan to work in some of the funnier bits as part of the backstory — and when this novel makes it to publication, don’t be surprised to see Dave and Melinda’s “how it all began” pop up on the blog as an online extra.

I will survive my MS’s massive surgery — without too much bleeding, I hope.

I’m glad to have friends who’ll tell me the cold, hard truth — even when I’m not quite ready to hear it.

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