Another day, another song selection from the soundtrack of my life.
I spent a very short half hour with Jane Friedman today — how did I get so lucky that I drew the editor of Writer’s Digest in the editing lottery? I am so excited. Jane read and edited the first 50 pages of Leaving Annalise. I was shaking; I am sure I talked too fast for her to understand me. But she was awesome! After receiving her professional feedback I want to pay someone like her to read the whole book. I have direction, I have true critical feedback, I have guidance, I have the eye of the tiger. I have a need to not drink so damn much caffeine, as you can tell, too.
Jane was professional and gentle. She talked through my L.A. concerns as well as one of my two biggest insecurities about Going for Kona. She gave me easy structural changes that solve my gnawing dissatisfaction about the beginning of L.A. She also talked to me about how to write dialect without frustrating or irritating the reader. I already knew I had committed a top writing sin in my opening, but she didn’t even mention it — although we mutually agreed to put a big X through it.
She did not have a problem with my adverbs, adjectives, or dialogue tags (or any grammar or word choice problems, for that matter), which was a relief, although I still know they are areas in which I must remain highly self-critical. She talked me through some tweaks for plotting that will raise the reader tension further, mid-book; again, this was an area that my gut told me needed a boost.
I was ready to see bloody pages and leave overwhelmed with rewrites. That did not happen; I will have my rewrites done this week.
Best of all? She said I have a compelling voice, protagonist, and style. At those words, all my fear of failure washed away. I can learn anything except how to be unique and connect my reader to my heroine, story, and work. If that element was missing, I would have been tempted to give up and focus on all the other things competing for my time and attention.
I finally feel “for real” as a voice and a developing creative writer/novelist, like this will really happen for me if I work hard and endure the bumps. To be clear, she did not say “wow you rock L.A. rocks Katie rocks you are going to take the world by storm!” I don’t need to hear those words. I need realism. I will make the rest of it happen myself.
Hear me (and Katie) roar!!