Friday, January 25, 2013
Hey everyone. Long time, no see. How's it going?
I've been busy. These past few months, my brain's been focused mostly on finishing revisions to my existing manuscript, and on writing a challenging new urban fantasy piece with an entirely different character. Challenging and complicated and a slightly different genre than I usually work within, but also wonderful and exciting for reasons I don't feel ready to share quite yet.
As my dear departed grandmother was fond of saying, Anyway. Now to the topic at hand. See that chocolate peanut butter heart? The one filled with delicious Reese goodness? Well, I bought that last February. And I told myself that I would reward myself with its delectable yumminess when I finished revisions.
But as I have told others, this manuscript has become another learning piece. I get that we should never stop improving our craft, or assume we know all there is to know, but I still feel like I've come to understand a lot about the craft with this one. I've written and re-written it and passed it through the best beta readers I know. I feel like I've grown even more as a writer. This past year, I've had to take breaks from it, face harsh truths, and force myself to improve even when I thought I was "done". Now I feel ready to indulge in that chocolate heart. Because, as I've told others, I would like to turn the learning piece into a piece I sell, and I finally feel ready to try again.
So. What have I learned?
1. My character's voice is my voice, and trying to force a different voice on her was helping neither of us.
2. The hardest feedback to take is usually the most accurate.
3. Having beta-readers who come from a wide range of backgrounds—published, unpublished, academic, peer, and even those who just like to read—is a real blessing.
4. Online feedback can be wonderful (especially with agreed-upon standards, like track changes), but hands down, nothing beats having an in-person critique partner that you can have a thoughtful discussion with over tea.
5. If you pitch to an agent and get asked to send a partial, they are generally okay with waiting a little bit for you to send the best piece you can instead of sending a rushed submission right away.
Oh, and that Reese’s peanut butter heart? There's some debate in my household as to whether or not it's still good. Chances are, it is. But I have new goals now that tell me that I don't need a slab of chocolate to reward myself.
Tune in Monday, when I take on the most challenging set of notes I've dealt with yet!