“The Marrying Type” by Laura Chapman
About “The Marrying Type”: Always the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it).
With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress.
Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future.
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“Second Times a Charm?” by Laura Chapman
Like dating, each new book you write offers valuable experience that you can use the next time around.
When I wrote my first novel, Hard Hats and Doormats, I’d toyed with the idea of telling the story of a young human resources manager trying to fit into a very grownup world while still trying to understand what adulthood meant. When November 1, 2010, rolled around, and I saw friends posting updates on Facebook about how they were participating in National Novel Writing Month, I decided I might as well give it a try. I’ve always a little too competitive for my own good. I spent that evening creating a rough outline of the book and went to work. Progress was slow, because like my main character, I too was traveling a lot for work and not quite sure what being 24 meant. I still felt like a college student a lot of the time, but my student loan, mounting bills, and professional responsibilities begged to differ.
I was well behind reaching the 50,000-word goal when I decided to take off a few days from work the week of Thanksgiving. I had a little bit of vacation time I had to use or lose, and it seemed like this was as good of a time as any. During the last week and a half of NaNoWriMo, I wrote between 4,000 and 5,000 words a day, determined to reach my goal on November 30. When I did, with just a few hours to spare, I cried. It was such an exciting and overwhelming experience to realize I could and did write 50,000 words in a month. It took me a few more months to finish the first draft of the book and years to revise.
Writing my second book was a vastly different experience. I knew a month before November 1, 2011, that I was going to write The Marrying Type. Figuring I was an old veteran by this point, I carefully outlined my novel and had a game plan for crossing the 50,000-word mark by November 30. Working alongside a couple of local friends who were also participating in NaNoWriMo, I met my goal two days early. Now I really felt like a pro.
But once again, it took me a couple of months to finish that first draft. And while I was happy just like the first time, I wasn’t as excited. This time, I understood a little bit better just how much work was going to be involved if I wanted to publish this book. Even then, I still didn’t have a full clue of just what the next few years would entail.
While writing the first draft of my second book was a faster experience than the first time around, and I better understood had to build tension and tell a story, I still had a lot to learn. Like with book one, book two went through round after round of edits and drafts before becoming the book it is today.
Perhaps the greatest lesson book two taught me was that no matter how many times you set out to write a novel, it is always going to take a lot of work. It isn’t going to be as easy as you might imagine. You’re almost always going to have to part with a scene or character you liked to make your story stronger. And no matter how hard you try, you will always have to go back and fix typos or change plot elements.
The ups and downs of writing my first two novels ultimately paid off. While they took more time than I’d ever imagined, I was able to produce two novelettes with relative ease after going through this experience. And though I struggled to write the first draft of my third novel, the experiences of books one and two taught me that it was okay to basically scrap everything and start over. Which is what I ended up doing, and my last attempt at the first draft took record time. I’m currently editing that book, and I’m happy to say that it is in much better shape than my first two books at this stage in the game. It’s not perfect, but I can see my growth as a writer, which is a great reward.
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**About author, Laura Chapman:
Laura Chapman is the author of The Marrying Type, Hard Hats and Doormats and the Autumn and Tuck series, which appear in Merry & Bright and A Kind of Mad Courage. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Until she fulfills her dream of landing a British husband or becoming a Disney princess, you can find her in a bar penning her next novel.
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