Hormones, Caffeine, or Writing a Romance novel?

Right now my nerves are on fire, I’m jittery as hell, and yet I’m also so exhausted I can barely move. I might be about to cry, or scream, or maybe pass out. Why do I feel this way?
It might be that I gave in to my intense chocolate craving today and had far too much of it than is healthy (plus lots of tea), so perhaps this is caffeine overload.
It might be that my erratic hormone cycles are about to coalesce into something.
Or maybe it’s merely that I’m deep in the guts of the rewrite for TAKING THE LEAD, my next romance novel for Hachette/Grand Central/Forever…
This book has a rock star hero who loves sex but is blindsided by intimacy (Axel), and a Hollywood heiress heroine who think she has to shut everyone out and never show the world anything but her “competent businesswoman” side (Ricki). They both have tragedies in their pasts that have made them vulnerable and both of them depend on their public images for success–put them together and you get ample opportunity for emotional pitfalls.
Great word, “pitfall.” Makes you think of a nice safe-looking piece of ground, under which lurks a terrifying plummet, screaming, into unknown darkness… Kind of like taking a nice solid premise for a novel and then having to actually write it. Or maybe that’s the hormones talking.
The thing is, in the first draft of this manuscript I wrestled mostly with getting the plot into working order. The standard operating procedure for romance these days is to write fast, almost NaNoWriMo style, sprinting through the first draft to just get it all storyboarded and the main points fleshed out. Then after editorial input, to go back and fix up what needs to be done.
What needs to be done on this one isn’t much with the plot but to peel back one whole additional layer of what we see of the characters, to get closer to their raw cores. I’m writing in the first person so we already see pretty deeply into their heads, but my editor’s comments make it clear we need to go even deeper, tearing open both the hero and heroine to the point of seeing the bleeding heart inside each of them with our own eyes.
Sorry, that was kinda graphic. But that’s where I am right now. My knees are weak and a sob is kind of stuck in my throat and anxiety is sparking off my skin like static electricity, and there’s no way to answer that question of whether it’s hormones or if it’s that my heroine feels exactly that same way right now.
And I’m only halfway through the rewrite on this manuscript. Oh jeez, am I going to make it?
I know I will. I know when I get to the end (rewriting takes a few weeks!) it will all be worth it, and the euphoria and satisfaction my characters feel when they finally settle together like a key in a lock, completing each other, will be how I, the author feel, too.
And hopefully when my readers pick up the book later, and their hearts leap into their throats and their eyes brim with tears, they won’t worry, because they know beyond any doubt that a happy ending’s coming. Even when sometimes–like right now–everything seems fraught.
Wish me luck! And look for the finished results in January 2016!
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