Saturday, July 23, 2011

Going Out On A Ledge

Photo Credit: S. R. Karfelt

Employing my last steel ovary I finally worked up the courage to share some of my story, looking for only one thing.  Positive feedback.  Was that really asking for so much?  Apparently.  I have a relative, a brilliant young woman who has aspirations to become an editor.  I have no doubt she will realize this dream, it has been her agenda since childhood.  How many eight year olds when asked what they want to be when they grow up say, "I want to be an editor!"  She did.  She used to e-mail publishers of books she read with errors she found, spelling, grammar, time lines.  She had a real penchant for finding discrepancies in a series and tossing off an email (at age ten) explaining why certain events did not coincide with the other books in the series.  My favorite response she got was from a publisher who told her, and I quote.  "You do realize, I hope, that this is Fiction".  I was never so certain of her success in the industry as I was when I finally let her pry some of my precious (Gollum reference) work from my fingers.  While she heartlessly pointed out that I could not have so many pages of set up before commencing with dialogue, and that I needed to "paint the picture" more clearly in this area or that, and that this character needed to be grittier and another more flawed I realized just why she has always wanted to be an editor.  She likes to make writers cry. 

Photo Credit: S. R. Karfelt

Then, of course, I got over myself and looked at the work from her perspective and realized she was exactly correct, about most of it anyway - okay, maybe all of it, but I stand by my resolve to live in my own world when it suits me.  The critique made me realize that I needed to share my work to receive important feedback.  What had I been thinking?  It had to be clear, it had to be well written!  I hadn't even punctuated dialogue properly, a bad habit that continues to stick with me.  The most painful part was that nearly four years in and with a dozen documents containing, oh about 1,500 pages each, I had a bit of an editing Heck in front of me! 

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