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  • Writer's pictureSofia Sawyer

Behind-the-Scenes: Rewrites for Tangled Up in You

I used to believe that when you wrote a full-length novel, it would indicate you were cut out to be a writer. It wasn’t until I started rewrites/editing that I learned I was wrong. For me, this point in the writing process is the real test of whether or not you have enough passion and grit to make it (and even then, it’s not guaranteed). The rewrite/edit process is always the most dreaded part of my story’s journey. It’s during this time that I stare at my work with an overly critical eye and wonder if it’s all crap.

A few years ago, I finished writing my first novel Secrets of Serendipity. I was so proud when I hit the acceptable word count for my genre and finished typing those final words of the last chapter. My first complete novel! I was pretty impressed I was able to keep all the details together, especially since I pantsed it for more than a year. That day,  I saw a glimmer of hope that maybe one day I could get published.

Then, I started the initial review and realized there was so much more to writing than I thought. I’ve come a looooonggg way since then.

With each story, I found new tips and checklists to keep everything in order and make the process more painless. As I go through the first review of Tangled Up in You, I’m hoping the pre-work I did before editing will make a difference.

About Tangled Up in You (note: the new title is One Stormy Night)

Stuck in a career rut for far longer than she wants to admit, Charlie Middleton is determined to take back her life. The plan was easy: quit working for her overly-demanding, highly-ambitious, annoyingly-handsome boss; attend a six-month-long technical boot camp; and finally, launch her career the way she had intended to years ago.

But before she could set it all into motion, Charlie learns her aunt — someone she considered a second mother– died unexpectedly and left Charlie the keys to her deeply loved Scottish cottage, a place she and her late husband had planned to remodel into their retirement home.

Heartbroken and lost, Charlie jet sets across the Atlantic to a remote village located on an island west of Glasgow. She hopes the charming town will give her the perspective she needs to find the inspiration and courage to take the next step in her life.


Lachlan Hart, tech genius and founder of a multi-million dollar AI company, discovers his reliable assistant is suddenly gone. In learning about her abrupt resignation and realizing just how much she did for him, he follows her to Scotland to bring her back.

But when he arrives in the island village — much to Charlie’s dismay and surprise — they get stuck in an unexpected storm, preventing them from getting back to the mainland. Now stranded together in a house that needs a lot more than just TLC, they must work together to make the home livable while they try to survive the onslaught of wind, rain, and rising storm surge.

Stuck in the confines of the crumbling home, the two of them discover more about each other while also finding a piece of themselves they lost. Can they overcome their judgments, resentments, and forgotten dreams to embrace the love that could grow between them?

Editing Focus Areas

Thankfully, I plotted my story in depth before writing, so I have those notes for checks and balances. It will ensure my character and setting details are consistent, the timing is correct, and the chapters and scenes flow properly. This is something I started doing with Saving the Winchester Inn and found it helped during writing and editing.

But, as always, I look for ways to improve. After attending Alicia Rasley’s course about creating stronger openings via the RWA Contemporary Romance Writers group, I realized I needed to focus on my opening act. After all, the first few chapters (or even sentences) are what captures the reader’s attention!

My New Checklist

If you know me by now, you know I’m all about writing tools. Between the course I did with Alicia and some general research I did on the three-act structure, I pieced together a checklist. This will ensure I’m hitting all the pertinent details regarding character introduction, Old World setting, goals/motivations, inciting incident, and more so the story is set up well.

I’m one-third through my first review, and so far, it looks like I’m covering everything on the list. There are some points where I’m second guessing myself (would I be a writer if I didn’t?), but I know that there’s no such thing as “real rules” in writing. Therefore, I’ll use this list as more as a guideline to confirm I’m covering the major points, but I won’t stress if isn’t exactly how I laid it out on the list.

Ok. Ok. I’ll try not to stress.

Anyhoot, I hope to have the first rewrite done in a couple of months! Until then, I’ll be heads down editing.


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