Lilies Redux

Our get-well-soon plant is blooming. That’s the trouble with getting plants around an event—they end up being called the “anniversary plant” or the “sympathy plant” or the “thinking-of-you plant” and don’t get proper names like the rest of them.

Speaking of which, Geraldine continues to confuse. She is constantly in bloom, but I keep thinking she can’t possibly be happy. All but about four of her leaves have turned brown and fallen off. I think she needs fresh dirt, although it might be sitting three from the heat vent that’s doing it.

And I wouldn’t say I’m blooming exactly, but I had one of those ambivalent brain waves the other day—the kind where you know it’s the correct answer to a problem, but you were kind of okay with having the problem being shelved as Unsolvable.

Anyway there I was, shuffling purposefully around the abode, and I saw exactly how to fix the fatal flaw in my Lilies book. The book I retired last November.

The problem with Lilies is that it’s two books smashed into one. The plot starts with one sister and then she gets knocked out of action and the second sister comes into play. Call it heroine bait and switch. I tried to fix it by making the second sister more of a team player in the first half of the book—camouflaging the problem rather than solving it. “Too complicated,” the agent said.

The answer, I think, is to separate the Siamese.

Well, the other book wasn’t going anywhere anyway, so I popped open my old chapter by chapter outline from the Lilies book, copied and pasted into a new document, and started highlighting. Pink for all the second sister action. Green for all the places her love interest influences the plot. Blue for the tuberculosis subplot that’s no longer needed.

I was surprised by how much black ink was left.

All the book really needs are some proactive choices from the heroine from page 200-330 and a new secondary male character. If second sister is out, then so is her dishy counterpart (not to worry, my Lydia-loving friends. She gets her own book deal). And if I’ve learned anything from Jane Austen it’s that men come in pairs (Darcy & Wickham, Willoughby & Brandon, Crawford & Bertram, Elliot & Wentworth).

Enter Nathaniel Harper.

I’m sort of proud of him, because I don’t especially like the name Nathaniel. Nor am I particularly keen on his career. That being said, he seems like a pretty nice person, and hopefully a slight change-up from my usual men. Though obviously it’s a bit early to say for sure.

I don’t know.

I’m still not sold on the idea of sinking another month or two into the book. But it’s the best lead I have on actually selling a book right now (the agent said she liked the story and wanted to work with me—provided I pull the whole thing to pieces and start over).


Maybe will tinker. Just to see.

It can’t hurt.


3 thoughts on “Lilies Redux

  1. I think it’s brilliant. As soon as I read the part where you said that Lillies is two books instead of one, I thought, “Of course.” And I’ve always been a fan of Lillies and really wanted it to succeed, so I’m glad you at least can see a clear path towards fixing it.

  2. What a beautiful picture of the rost!

    I think you’re right about Lillies. I was also encouraged by watching Downton Abby. It IS possible to have a story about a gracious but fallible family/community. In fact, people love it! Go, Jane, go! I think your story, although quite different in plot and characterization, fits the genre perfectly and will be much loved whenever it gets out there.

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