Good To Be Back

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 writeScary 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?

 


COMMENTS

  • Paul Lamb

    September 5, 2014

    Reply

    I have a similar reaction every time I see an email from a mag I’ve submitted a story to. Anticipation and dread, though more dread. Unlike you, though, I have to read them right away and only then go for a run to work it out in my head.

    I’m glad you’re getting useful feedback and that you’ve found you have the guts to disregard some of it even.

    • donnaeve

      September 5, 2014

      Reply

      I know, it’s weird. What am I thinking? In all seriousness, even John doesn’t expect me to use every single snippet of advice, and I do like that about him. I just haven’t had…, as you put it…, the guts to do it before this book. It’ll be my luck, when he does read it, he’ll say…”shouldn’t you…” and then bring up something the editor said.

      I like to run to work it out in my head too. Just wish I could do the longer runs at this moment – ten miles used to be some great downtime to think.

  • Carolynnwith2Ns

    September 5, 2014

    Reply

    “Old friends,” that’s exactly it. Some friends I enjoy, some piss me off and some just seem to know exactly what to say.
    So glad you’re back at it. When I don’t write I feel as if a piece of me fell off and rolled under the bed. Takes me awhile to get down there and find it but I always do.
    My memoir is with readers, I get it back tomorrow. So excited to go over the hard copies with their notes. I too know when to let go and have learned when to stand ground..
    I’m so happy for you but ten miles, you are one crazy pair of Nikes.

  • donnaeve

    September 6, 2014

    Reply

    The process of knowing what’s right and what’s wrong at the creative level was an interesting bit to learn for me. Here’s to your memoir receiving the feedback you’re looking for…and yeah, ten miles sounds crazy, but it’s such a slow progression to build up to it, by the time you get there, you don’t even think about it – your knees or feet, or some other body part might remind you though..

  • Diane

    September 6, 2014

    Reply

    I’ve had this experience, and it is … invigorating. Congratulations on getting back at it. I’m in that place where I’m torn between querying the completed MS and writing the next one, and will have to learn that balance. But it’s an exciting time!

    • donnaeve

      September 6, 2014

      Reply

      Thanks for that, and wow – good luck if you start querying! Actually, maybe you query a few and start another book anyway That’s what I did when my first went out on submission. I had to keep my mind on something else and that was definitely the best thing for me.

      Now that I’ve finished this one, and was told the story was good even though it still needs work) + having had time away, I have such a different view of it. Like a big weight is gone.


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