As some of you may be aware, at the end of last month I won a three month mentorship with Angela who's wonderful blog, The Bookshelf Muse, is an inspiration to all writers.
As time permits I will share some of the things I am and will be learning.
First, I had to decide which of my novels I wanted her to dissect. Angela suggested I chose the one I thought was most commercially viable. Well, that would be my YA, A Place Called Hope's Well. It made it to a finally reading at one publisher before being turned down. And I got a personal positive rejection from an editor at another. I think it's a good story, even though I don't consider myself a YA writer. I like MG. But my MGs are not so CV as I would like to think. So...I went with Hope's Well.
Second, with thumping heart I sent it off. Angela has now read and made line item edits/comments on all of it. It is splatterd with red ink.
Third, breathe in, breathe out. Aside from pointing out some rather glaring flaws (GAK how could I be so blind?) I thought I'd caught all those repetitive words like: just, that, so, I, she, always, then, etc. etc. etc. I thought I had a handle on the deadly passive voice.
THIS is just what I've needed/wanted for I can't tell you how long, someone to look at what I've written with clear eyes. I'm just too close to my own work. It's almost impossible for me to see where the problems are. AND I have already learned from Angela's maticulous line edits how to see those things I didn't see before. I already know that what I'm learning now I will be able to apply to other work.
Confession time. I'm one of those people who loves the thrill of writing that first draft. I love discovering who my characters are. I love how they show me where they want to go, how they surprise me with the things they say and do. But once it's down on paper I quickly loose interst. (I must have the attention span of a pea.) So, when I began to recieve the pages of red-ink I had heart-stopping moments where I seriously thought about giving up. It looked like too much...AWRG WORK!
BUT, I am EXTREMELY happy to announce that Angela is not only a most excellent critiquer, she's a wonderful cheer-leader. I've calmed down. I'm breathing into it and I'm fully ready, willing and able to go the distance.
...I've got a lot of work to do. If you don't see me around as much, if I don't comment or post as often as I usually do, know it's because I'm deep in Hope's Well working to strength it's walls from the bottom up.