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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How some of your favorite books almost turned left

I found a back up disk from 2006 and on that disc were some partial manuscripts that eventually became Betting On Love, Let's Get It On and Second Chances at Love.

It's fun to look back some times. Take "Confessions of a Reformed Bad Girl," which became Betting On Love.

Here's a look at the first few lines:


Walking down the aisle into the arms of a man like James Goings had never even crossed my mind. Wearing a white dress on my wedding day was a bit of a stretch, but I did it anyway—because I got it like that.
            How did I get so lucky and what am I going to have to do to make sure things don’t change? Has it actually happened? Have I become the proverbial good girl?
            I hope not.
            Let me start from the beginning and tell you how I got to this lovely church on this beautiful June afternoon. Two years ago, my rowdy girlfriends—Serena, Kandace and Alicia— and I took a trip to  Vegas. But it wasn’t the sinful delight that we’d been expecting since Alicia put the whole thing together. It rained. Can you believe our luck? We left Atlanta to find sun and fun and it rained for three days—leaving us to toil in the smoky casinos and hotel lobbies. The perfect place for trouble. We dressed in tight black dresses, showing major cleave hoping that someone would ask one of us to blow on some dice while they shot it, you know the way the vamps in the movies do.
This Jade wasn't very likable. I was trying too hard to make her a "bad girl."

See, I wouldn’t say that me and my girls are gold diggers, we just like nice things and want other people—particularly men—to pay for them. We’d done it all, dated professional athletes and then claimed to be pregnant, at least Alicia did. We’d scammed bankers—especially those men who thought that the only reason we’d been born was to be their sex slaves—into investing in business that we had no intention of starting, at least I did. And there are other things that we did, which I’ve chosen to forget.
This just didn't work for me after I got about five-thousand words in. Thank goodness the real Jade, Serena, Alicia and Kandace showed up. 

 Next, there was Kenya's violent outburst in Let's Get It On:


Maurice was a star football player and every girl on campus wanted him. Kenya trusted him and was confident that their love could withstand any temptation. Without knocking, as she’d done on several other occasions, Kenya walked into his dorm room.
            “Baby,” she said then the rest of her words froze in her mouth. The sight before her was indescribable. Maurice wasn’t doing this to her. This was a nightmare.
            “Oh, yeah, big daddy,” Lauryn Michaels screamed as she rode Maurice as if he were a stallion.
            Grasping the wall, Kenya swallowed the bitter bile rushing forth in her mouth. Next, she picked up Maurice’s Introduction to Media book and tossed it at Lauryn hitting her in the middle of her back.
            “Son of a bitch,” Kenya found the voice to say. “How could you do this to me?”
            Maurice and Lauryn untangled their bodies and Lauryn held her throbbing back.
            Shaking his head and trying to cover his nakedness, Maurice said, “I didn’t mean for you to find out like this, Kenya.”
 I changed this scene because, I knew I wanted Kenya to push Lauryn down a hill on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University. She couldn't be that violent.
I'm happy that these things were changed before the books went to print. The stories were made so much better and richer for it. The moral of the story is, you have to be your own first editor.

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