Darth, my agent, got it done! My most recent writing project, working title ‘Shadow of a Thief’, is going to be published by an imprint of HarperCollins. So, Hooray! and kudos to Vader, aka Brian DeFiore.
The next step is up to my new editor at HarperCollins. Some editors are pretty laid back, I had one at another publishing house who really didn’t ask for anything in the way of changes. I also had one from the other end of the spectrum, and she beat me up pretty thoroughly. It is an interesting experience to have your work read so closely and so intensely by a professional who is seriously into the written word. One of the problems writers have to deal with is the loss of objectivity. I don’t know how you can avoid it, working on a manuscript for a year or two, doing multiple drafts, by the end of the process it’s sometimes hard to remember who’s writing whom. A sharp editor who is seeing your work for the first time is bound to pick up on plenty of stuff you can’t see anymore.
And then there’s the exhibitionism…
I always thought being published was a bit like being a stripper, although I’ve never had the latter experience, and it’s too late now. And it’s not writing that’s the issue, it’s putting it out there, sending it off in the mail, finding your audience. I don’t care what you’re writing or how careful you are, you reveal yourself in your work.
I seeee you…
There’s no escaping it. And in this age of Amazon, Facebook and a thousand other review sites, critics abound, and every one of them is free to share their opinions about your deficiencies with the rest of the world. Are there sites that review strippers? Talk about how this one or that one ought to hit the salad bar a little more often? I don’t want to know. But let’s face it, not everyone is going to like you. In fact, if you are doing your job as a writer and an artist correctly, some of them are going to hate you enough to suggest you go back to using crayons.
And you think, well, okay, I can take it, I been thrown out of better joints than this one. While that might be true, it isn’t really you they’re throwing bricks at, it’s your baby, which means they are already inside your normal defenses and those bricks can leave a mark.
You have to be comfortable naked, you have to have an ego strong enough to take some shots, what else? Oh, yeah…
Remember that ash tray you made in pottery class back in grammar school? When you gave it to your mother, were you looking for constructive criticism?
No, you were not.
You wanted her to love it, and to tell you how brilliant and talented you were.
Ain’t gonna happen.
Your editor is gonna have some bad news for you. Hopefully not a lot of bad news, but some, and you are gonna have to be grown up enough, and honest enough, to recognize (and cop to) the difference between the time when you need to fight to defend your manuscript and those other times when the lady has a point. And this thing you worked so hard on, and thought you were finally effing finished with?
Maybe you ain’t all the way there with it yet.
I’m still working on that…
(photocredit: Evan Travelstead / http://www.evantravelstead.com/#/charactertype/)