Swoon Author Cindy Anstey's First Draft Report: I Was NOT Impressed!
I have been working on The Hummingbird Dagger for quite some time—years, actually. I might save some dignity if I confess that this book was my first complete manuscript. Yes, I began my writing career with high drama: blood dripping and mysterious persons causing havoc. It was a lark and since I thought the manuscript would never see the light of day—in the form of a book—I pulled out all the stops.
When The Hummingbird Dagger was first finished, it was gigantic—four times the size it is now. I had read that it was easier to edit after the distance of time, so I put this marvelous monstrosity away for a few months. When I got it out again, you guessed it, I was not impressed.
I rewrote the whole thing, five times. Yes, five times. The original had two romances and copious amounts of backstory. I described e-ve-ry-thing, everything. So, delete became the most used key on my keyboard as I revised. When I sent the manuscript to Swoon Reads, it had already lost over half its bulk. Fortunately, Emily, magician that she is, helped me boil the mystery and romance down to its essence.
Going from Regency Romps to dark mystery (or the other way around) had its challenges. Keeping the right tone was one aspect that kept slipping away from me. I also found it hard to cut parts of the story that I enjoyed and characters that I thought filled out the world of Wellford Mills. Still, what remained on paper (on the computer screen) was the most important part of the story, the scariest bits, the parts with the highest tension and the swooniest romance. With the help of Swoon Reads, The Hummingbird Dagger began to shine. And now I’m proud to share it with my readers!