Breaking News— Round two of the Big Edit Revision is complete. Yay! I love how the manuscript has changed from what I thought was nothing more than a simple story of a woman owning her independence to a full-bodied journey of a woman on a rocky road to forgiveness. The glimmer of the old is within this new, but it’s gone above and beyond what I ever dreamed. It’s left me feeling like Katharine Hepburn’s character after she experienced her first whitewater rapids in The African Queen.
I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating!
It was also hell. I cursed out my editor and her track changes and me for being a stupid-is-as-stupid-does writer for far too long. I wanted to quit. I wanted to quit so much, I wished I could quit knowing that I wouldn’t quit, so that I could. And now I’m crying over how happy I am for staying the course— and for the sadness.
Lots of unexpected sadness. I thought it was nothing more than what I used to experience in the theatre— the post-production blues that hit between shows. For those of you not in the know, imagine you’ve spent the last twenty-four hours eating nothing but sugar and now there’s not a granule left. Crash, bang, boom. Yeah, that, and I was on the tilt-a-whirl high for five months.
Post-writing blues fits but the third round is only a post or two away, and I’m already working on the new query, so the notion feels false. Then why so sad?
I’m worried about Kaitlyn. Can’t stop thinking about her. What if something else happens to her and I’m not around to help her navigate? Because, believe me, she has not had an easy go of it. What if she thinks I abandoned her? She might, and her knee-jerk reactions aren’t good. No kidding here. I’m really worried Kaitlyn will be misunderstood, or fall into another pothole of misfortune, and this time I won’t be around to save her.
Ain’t that a kick— After all the years and drafts, my protagonist has finally become a real person for me. Someone I really do want to hang out with. Someone who tugs at my heart like all of you, dear friends, readers and voyeurs. Kaitlyn’s transformation means these tears that have gone from brimming to flowing are not from sadness. They’re from joy.
I’ve done an amazing thing— created a life that resonates as deeply as my own. It was the plan, at least in the back of my mind. At the front of my mind was only the desire to design a life where everything works out for my heroine. The journey has been longer and harder than I anticipated. But if I’d known the duration and difficulty factor ahead of time, I still would’ve gone forward. Because my persistence was wrapped up in a desperate need for a reason to get up in the morning, along with the fear of knowing if failure came I might take myself out of the equation of life— it had nothing to do with believing I would succeed.
But this latest editing round has proven me wrong. My story won’t appeal to everyone, and tackling agents is one of the biggest crap shoots around, but I no longer have a reason not to give it a whirl. Because I’m not Nora Ephron or Virginia Woolf, but I might be a writer.