Four months ago, I had a wonderful opportunity to pitch my manuscript and another Work in Progress to an editorial assistant at a publishing house (I don't know if it's kosher to name drop on your blog, so I won't) and had such a great experience. This wonderful person's eyes lit up as I shared my stories and my vision for the stories. She asked all sorts of questions, including the hard ones, and I felt that we connected, that she "got" my ideas. And she requested a full manuscript.
Ah! I was in heaven! I was in alt!
But, I was sure there was something I overlooked. I asked if I could just polish it up, and she graciously agreed.
So I decided to do things right. I sent it to a freelance editor who read through the thing. She made some very good suggestions and mentioned a few other things.
Then I was able to get some critiques through Kat Bauer's 'Crits for Water'. Very helpful and informative. Wow! I learned so much!
Then finally, I had my query critiqued in an online contest. After lots of rewrites of THAT, I won first place, which entitled me to the prize of a(nother) critique, this time specifically for the opening of my novel.
When that critique came back, I finally had my 'Aha!' moment.
Some of the advice that I had gotten seemed a little nit-picky and I didn't really get it. The last critique spelled out in language I understood..."This doesn't work because...This grammar rule means..."
It was everywhere folks! I felt a little overwhelmed.
The whole manuscript needed line-by-line edits.
So, I wrote to the person at the publishing house and told her it would be longer than I had expected. She was gracious in her reply. And I got to work.
I did a lot of work. I did a lot of learning.
And I was so grateful that I still had all the notes of the critiques over the past several months. Suddenly it seemed so clear what I hadn't seen before. I fixed the grammar problems (and kept a few that were 'right' in the dialogue).
Whenever my husband wasn't at the computer, I was there, working on my "word problems".
My kids complained that they hardly got any computer time this past summer vacation. Nope, they didn't. Sorry, kids!
Oh, and the house wasn't nearly as clean as it erm...should be.
Through it all, I sought for balance in trying not to neglect (totally) the house, the kids, my husband, the necessary things like regular meals and fun together. (Hey, it was summer vacation...and the kids get whiny when they haven't gone swimming at the neighborhood pool in a week.)
Finally, towards the end of summer, I actually felt like I juggled things pretty well. (Not perfect, but good enough!) It helped that I started including my book in my prayers. Sounds weird, perhaps, to some.
But prayer is a daily part of my life. And if this is something that brings me so much joy, and I can create something lovely and fun and uplifting, why would God not want to be a part of it?
And why would I not ask for his help?
So finally, all the pieces started coming together. Right about the time the kids started school two weeks ago. Funny how that happened.... ;)
So today, I sent an email to the wonderful person in publishing, letting her know that the manuscript is coming. Will be in the mail next week. Revisions are done. I just need one more pass at the beginning and the end to make sure the tweaks I made last night were not some figment of my sleep-deprived mind.
(Ha Ha...no really!)
So, even though I know that the next stage of the game is full of query letters and rejection letters and soaring hopes and crashing dreams. I am not afraid. Or not very.
So fasten your seat belts, folks.
It's AWESOME time!