Officially, I am back to working on the book – since yesterday. What I’ve learned during this hiatus is…, the longer you go without writing, the easier it gets to not write. Scary easy. The “World Of Solitaire, Klondike Turn Three” easy. Yeah, I got hooked on playing Solitaire for a little bit. This was so I wouldn’t chew my nails down to a nub worrying what might be going on at the editor’s desk across the pond.
Speaking of feedback from her, it came in and of course I stared at the Subject Line of the email with a mixture of dread and anticipation. But, I had a plan for managing the feedback this time, and it goes to show how much you change once you’ve been around the block a time or two…, I actually didn’t open it up right away. I saw it, and what did I do? I went for a run. I came back from that, walked past the computer and went upstairs to get a shower. Of course the knowledge of its arrival was screeching in my head as loud as these crazy cicadas, but, I tried to ignore it.
Only when I felt prepared did I sit down to read what she had to say. Even though my dread was now operating with tight precision and making me almost lightheaded (yeah, it’s soooo like this), I felt prepared. My initial reaction was a twinge of disappointment, sure, but, after reading the editorial letter – twice – I closed the document, and I went outside to do some work. And I let her words sink in for a few days. And each day, they seemed less…, I don’t know…less harsh, less critical, and actually – not bad at all.
She fed me one of those critique sandwiches – the sort where it starts off good, and then the icky critical stuff is stuffed in the middle – like your Mom trying to sneak the healthy stuff in, and then ending with more good. All in all, it really wasn’t horrible – just common sense input I can appreciate. And, get this, I can tell I’m growing as a writer – because there’s some of it, (dare I say it ????) that I won’t use, that I didn’t agree with, and OMG! Two years ago I would have followed every single word, to the nth degree. (Magician? Are you reading this? Ring any bells? It’s true – right???)
So. What did she say? In a nutshell, this:
“The story is a good one – and I really liked the ending, which was quite moving. And, you write really good dialogue – but the pace was too slow.” Also, there is a character, named Wade, and she wants to see him developed more. What I’m actually glad about too – and this was part of her advice I followed – was to tell my agent to hold off reading what I sent him. Now, honestly, I would never have sent it to him in the first place, except she had suggested I do so, and that way we could all discuss it. Either way, I put the brakes on his reading of it, shitty first draft that it was…and spared his eyes the horror.
(***Bonus…aside from the editor’s review, there is even more input regarding the book. I’ll post about it later on this month. It was a completely new endeavor with really interesting results.)
For now, after leaving the ms alone (since July 12th, almost eight weeks!), I’m back at it, reacquainting myself with my characters, who are acting like it’s still vacation time to some degree. I’ve been here before, and I know how it goes. After a few days, I’ll be back into a rhythm, back to leaving my work opened at the last place I stopped, with the efforts of the day before highlighted with red font as a placeholder. When I sit down, it will be the first thing I see, and you know what? It feels really, really good to be back to writing, good to worry and work over the words, and to see the characters slowly stepping forward, revealing themselves once again…, and I can’t help but think, it’s a lot like seeing old friends.
Does it feel like this to you too?