My novel is in my editor’s hands.
I love that sentence.
My publisher is working on cover art and other important issues.
I love that sentence, too.
After years of writing short fiction and tiny poems, I’m back in ‘beginner’s mind” territory.
There was a need in me to experience the longer form — the literary novel. Then a character spoke to me and kept on talking. Margaret had chosen me as her scribe and her story would take some time. So, I adopted the stance of apprentice and gave myself to learning my way through the process.
I looked to mentors, attended workshops, and read widely. I tapped the genius of the teachers — Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg, Stephen King, Becky Rule, etc. — who sit always on my desk. And I let my own “novel approach” surface as I wrote.
At last, I had a book — a very long book — and a stack of note cards tied up in a ribbon. (My novel approach, it turns out, involves character and scene cards to keep everything and everyone straight.) I had a beautiful story with a beginning and a middle and an end; but, was it a novel?
I wasn’t sure.
I longed for a collaborative relationship with an experienced editor. At her book launch, a friend acknowledged the role of her editor – someone I know, but not well – and my next move was clear. I hired this sharp, no-nonsense editor with the experience and sensibility needed to guide Margaret’s story to completion.
It was the best money I’ve ever spent!
Thanks to her insights and suggestions, I jumped into the revision process with renewed energy and a clear focus. I could feel the story tighten and move closer to that ideal I carry in my head as I made changes, killed some darlings (now safely tucked away in another file), and cut 35,000 words!
This midwife to creation is now doing the line edit as I, virginal elder, prepare to birth Other Wise in October. And I am smiling.
And I hope you are following your own call to create. Not someday when conditions are favorable, or you have more time, or the old cat doesn’t need your full attention, but NOW (or, at the very least, tomorrow) !