Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Today I'm feeling...

Satisfied, like I finished a good meal, but not full and bloated and unable to move. I want to do a happy dance. Yesterday, after months of procrastination or brain freeze, I finished the revision of my novel Trail Mix.
Like a patient after bariatric surgery, the manuscript shrank from 99,000 to 87,000 words. From 360 pages to 326 pages. And, I think it improved - a lot.
I think I can blame part of the delay on my friend Marcus. He methodically began to sift through the book and we would meet each week over turkey sandwiches (sauce on the side for him, what kind of bread is that?) or espressos with flavor (only 3 squirts of raspberry in his coffee, please, and skim milk). But the loitering over lunch and coffee also led to the refinement of my manuscript. He'd come up with comments like: "This page is very -ingy." And when I read it, I realized he was right. I puzzled over sentences like: "Wearing only a blue jogging bra and her Nike running shorts, she scrubs her hands at the sink before popping some bread into the stainless steel toaster." What's with all the detail? Marcus would ask. How does the reader know which ones are important?
I got the point, and I think I reached a new writing phase where I could zip through pages and hear Marcus' nagging voice in my head. So the manuscript is better.
Now I feel anxious. I've given three copies to literate friends and asked them to read them -- fast. I want to send out query letters and manuscripts to agents who will love it! Okay, like it enough to ask to see the full. And maybe, that one agent who will say, "I can sell this."
So, what sort of incentive can I offer my friends to read my manuscript in record time? Well, I do hope they enjoy it and want to keep reading. Maybe, like the actor Bob Hoskins, who takes scripts to the toilet and knows they're good when his butt goes numb, maybe my friends will find themselves unable to put my book down.
Just in case, though, I'll offer a gift certificate to COSI or Panera or Borders to whoever finishes it first and gets it back to my greedy little hands.


Sheila said...

Oh great, Michele always beats me in reading! But I did read 4 chapters at gymnastics tonight, which was pretty good since I also had to drive Beth to ceramics in the middle of the class. And my thoughts so far are it's funny and so very true to life. As a matter of fact I find myself thinking; is she talking about me, are those my kids she's referring to? But really I think a lot of women will identify with these situations. It's very good so far.

Paulita said...

Thanks, Sheila. Beautiful new photo, btw.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm impressed.
Can't wait to get it
from the library.

Anonymous said...

I think it needs work. Chapter 3 left me feeling, I don't know, vacant, somehow. Chapter 4 was nonexistent. There was nothing in Chapter 5,6, and 7 at all. And the ending? It was like an empty package. Or blank paper maybe. What is the metaphor I am looking for here? Oh wait, you didn't even send it to me, did you?

Chicken. (And here I am making clucking sounds.) Plus congratulations.


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