Thursday, November 5, 2009

Good news!

Like bad news (see my swine flu posts of a few weeks ago), good news seems to come in waves and for once, my cup runneth over! As I mentioned before, I recently won an award for my short story Modeling Life. For the next six months, I'll be serving as an assistant editor for Echo Ink Review. My stint started on November 1st and already I'm reading through manuscript submissions. It looks like it's going to be a great experience, and I'll post about it as I go along. (Maybe pass on some hints about trends -- both good and bad -- that I'm seeing with the story submissions.)

As if that wasn't enough fabulousness, when I checked my email yesterday I found a note from an editor at Simon & Schuster about the first three chapters of my novel. Some of you might remember that back in May, I won a critique of my synopsis and the first three chapters of my novel through Brenda Novak's online auction for diabetes.

My mom had died the year before and we had just settled her estate. We had a small amount of money and I was planning on buying a necklace or something to remember her by when I found the auction. My mom was my first reader. She was the one who opened up the world of reading for me when I was little. What better way to memorialize her than to bid on a critique of my novel? I ended up winning a critique by both an editor & an agent.

Well, yesterday I got the feedback from the editor and it was great! I was expecting her to find all kinds of issues, to tell me that I was wasting my time and I should move on to something more productive, like fly fishing. Instead, she loved the idea and most of the plot points, said my writing was very clean and then she ended by complimenting me on a job "really well done."

Remember Sally Field's acceptance speech at the Oscars? "You like me! You really like me!" I feel like that. Here is someone in the publishing industry with no ties to me and no reason to lie to spare my feelings when giving feedback. I'm not saying she didn't find anything to improve on the manuscript, she did and her points were spot on. Areas to really emphasize, a character's voice to improve, etc. But overall, her feedback was positive and makes me feel so much better about all of the hours I've spent staring at a blank computer screen, creating a world and characters from nothing.

Writing is such a solitary affair, and sometimes you get so close to your work that you can't see the flaws. It feels good to get some outside affirmation every once in a while.

Since I also won an agent critique, I'll be sending the chapters and synopsis off to the agent in the next week or so (after I've incorporated the editor's suggestions.) Hopefully, I get some more good feedback that I'll be able to use while revising the novel. Then I just have to finish the revisions, write a query, find an agent...still a lot of work to do, but I feel better about doing it!