September 24, 2011

Sometimes you just need to breathe

Wow…what a crazy month and a half. Not crazy as in so much was happening I could actually see my head spin, but the kind of crazy that just might drive you crazy.

I was a good girl and resisted the urge to email my editing group for updates on the MS. Don't get me wrong; I obsessively check my email everyday hoping for any little tid-bits. No tid-bits came. I got nervous. They hated it, I just knew it. Would they tell me if they hated it? Would they tell me I was off my rocker to think that I could ever write anything someone would want to buy much less read? The second guessing game started in force. The 'shoulda coulda woulda' litany ruled my brain. I should have done this or I should have done that. I read MS again after taking a break and started to find a few holes. Crap! I should have seen that! They certainly hate it with these holes that I see. They are trained professionals and will think I am ridiculously too inexperienced.

In the end I gave them the benefit of the doubt and just waited. That was the whole purpose of seeking out a developmental edit after all. I am new to this game and needed to know where my story telling skills lacked. Grammar, punctuation, sentence structure be damned. I needed to know if I could even tell the story, the rest was semantics.

On August 29th, the day before my deadline, I received an email from the coordinator. They apologized for the delay and emailed to inform me that my editor, Nicci, needed more time to review. After I managed to not swallow my tongue, and scraped my gut up from where it fell at my knees, I asked how much time they needed. Was I to wait another week? A month? A year? Note: did not actually say all this but my panic was reaching new levels. I was informed the review would be ready by week's end. Gut twisting began anew.

Nicci called me on a Friday morning as I was getting settled in at work. I almost didn't answer since I assumed it was work related. It is usually not a good thing when an unknown caller rings from an area code I don't recognize. Thankfully, I answered and Nicci and I had a great conversation. She really enjoyed Shifted and saw huge potential. But…. She knew I felt the 'but' as well. Nicci told me then the things I was expecting to hear: need to bring down word count, clean up dialogue, cut down repetitive nuances, etc. She also sent me on my way with some homework, I was to brainstorm some more on the characters and their conflict. The YA market is so incredibly huge right now and Nicci wanted me to give Shifted that extra edge to make it that much more unique. I was game.

I sat in from of my laptop and had a 'conversation' with my characters. What they had to tell me I really liked and jotted down my thoughts. I really liked this new direction. There was also some added conflict that Nicci suggested, and was ironically something I tossed aside at the very beginning as being too dramatic, but now think would be really juicy stuff. It's crazy what you learn over time… Anyway, I sent off my brainstorming and am waiting once again.

Being the OCD kind of person that I am, I did not wait for Nicci to get back to me on the new ideas. I couldn't. My fingers itched to be on the keyboard again. I am sure any of you who actually read this, and are also writers, will understand wholeheartedly. Once I had this new tweak in storyline in my head I had…HAD…to explore this new angle. There was no getting around it. The MS beckoned to me, it sang to me, taunted me. Anytime my brain was idle these new aspects slithered in and began new scenes of the mini movie in my head. I had to write it out.

I pulled out my rough, saved it under a new title, and started again.

So far I have managed to cut almost 10k words (very proud and yes I patted myself on the back) and have begun integrating the new ideas into the already existent story. It is amazing! I love it. I even wrote out an alternate first chapter, or maybe it will be a prologue, that gives the story a darker feel right off the bat. The changes that I have made so far have me so freaking excited it is rather sickening. I am certain my family thinks I'm nuts, and maybe they are right. Do I care? Nope!

Speaking of the alternate chapter… I sent it to my muse, Rachel, to see what she thought. She admitted before the original first chapter sort of dragged a bit for her (she is an impatient reader which is why I love her feedback) so I was anxious to see what she thought about the new one. She hates me now, which makes me grin wickedly. Her response was positive, she liked the new, darker beginning, but she hates me. "Dangit that changes things! Now I don't know what happens!" she complains to me. I have since been instructed to hurry up with the edit so she can read it again. All I can do is smile at her in the most devilish way I can manage.

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