How far does one go when revising a story without losing the original plot?
As far as “Dragoon Serenade” is concerned I have pondered on how to best tackle the issue. The remarks from a couple of editors who both felt that although the story was well written and strong in both content and historical accuracy, the romantic element appeared only as a sub-plot.
After all this is a romance story and as such the romance element should be the dominant factor; and as the publishers in question specialize in romance that is what they want to see.
I was also told the Prologue was confusing and that the story might work better if I took it out. On reviewing it I tended to agree, but rather than remove it I replaced it with an entirely different start. So much so that I subsequently was obliged to go through the entire manuscript to ensure the continuity of the story reflected the beginning.
Onto SEX….. Unlike my “Sword and the Rose” series which one would definitely consider as erotic [and made me blush at times writing it], I did want the Romance in War series to fall into the ‘sweet’ category where things happened behind closed doors and left the ‘sex’ to the imagination. Unfortunately it has now transpires that peoples’ desires have changed to the point where ‘sweet’ is no longer a viable option. Sadly therefore I have been forced to increase the heat level of my story and I have also added a few extra graphic sex scenes just to whet the readers’ appetites. Although in my defense, I would say that I have kept the scenes tasteful [no pun intended] not vulgar as that would be out of character of my heroine and hero.
“Dragoon Serenade” is set during World War Two and is centered around the towns Cannes, Golfe Juan [where I currently reside today], Biot, Vallauris, and Agay which are located in the department of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in southern France.
My heroine, code name ‘Simone’ is an agent of the British Special Operations Executive [SOE]. The SOE were highly trained and were specifically used for espionage, sabotage, assassinations, and reconnaissance. Although Resistance fighters had been formed when these people’s countries capitulated to the German forces, it was the SOE who coordinated them into organized fighter networks, ensuring they were supplied with military stores. This was particularly the case in France during the lead up to the invasions of Normandy and the Cote d’Azur. The latter was code-named “Operation Dragoon”.
The hero in the story is code-named ‘Hibou’ the French word for ‘owl’. Simone had previously known him from the time she had spent in northern France several months before the D-Day landings. The two had been romantically involved.
Now as Simone is being transported by submarine to Golfe Juan she hopes to be able to reignite their love.
I have done what I can to show the strong bond between Simone and Hibou but not at the expense of the action which occurs throughout the story. And I have tried to emphasize their romantic relationship in all its aspects. From tenderness to strong sexual prowess; desire, kindness and love, but inevitably where romance is concerned there is always a hint of jealousy. Just as in real life where there’s romance there will also be tears. However as with all good romances there is ALWAYS a Happy Ever After Ending.
“Dragoon Serenade” may be a romance, but it is one set in the most difficult of circumstances. War is not pretty at the best of times, and when your main characters are operating in the shadows with the Gestapo close on their heels, the tensions run high.
I pray that I have done enough with the revisions to satisfy those who would publish my story, and I can only hope that they will appreciate the efforts made that aim to keep the romance and action elements working alongside each other and not at the expense of losing the story’s personality.
Of all the stories I have written so far “Dragoon Serenade” gave me the most enjoyment, and at times even made me cry – but as a romance writer I can get quite emotional.
My biggest wish is that I will find a publisher who equals my love for Simone and Hibou so that together we can share their story with you.