September Catch-up Post

Oh wow, where did summer go? Seriously, I want to know what happened to this entire season that only began a few short weeks ago. Is it hiding? Did it get lost? Did someone steal it? Did it disappear all on its own? Abducted by aliens? Come on. This is simply ridiculous.

I’ve been busy working and writing and gardening and editing and grand parenting and knitting. The edits for the sequel to Flying with a Broken Wing are moving long. I finished two rounds with my editor Penelope Jackson who is really wonderful to work with. I worked with her on the edits for the last book and was really pleased to have her as an editor again. From what I’ve been told the advanced reading copies (you know, the ones that get sent out early to reviewers and the like) will be ready to send out early winter. I expect there will be some small changes to the manuscript once the proofreaders go through it and who knows maybe I’ll see a thing or two I might want to change. (But just minor changes at this point.)

So with the edits done (for the most part) I’ve been working on a few other writing projects. Again this summer, I took my books to the Heritage Blueberry Festival in Parkdale and I also took part in the Rural Arts and Life Tour. I met a lot of people and sold some books, but most importantly I had a great time. I picked up a few gifts at the gift shop in the Parkdale/Maplewood Museum. They have a great little gift shop and museum. If you’ve never been there plan to check it out sometime.

Despite having the lack of rain this summer, the garden managed to grow. We weren’t overrun with zucchini or pumpkins this year which was a bit of a relief. Luckily, hubby cut back on how many seeds he planted. You really don’t need ten + zucchini plants. Those buggers multiply like rabbits. This photo of dsc07829the LaHave River was taken in early August.  Many of our rivers are nothing but beds of rock. We’ve recently had a bit of rain but no where near enough to bring the water levels up. I read this morning that this is the driest summer on record and that we can expect more of the same in  the years ahead. Wells are going dry. Serious stuff.

Work…what can I say? Work.

Miss Charlotte got in a visit to Nova Scotia this summer which was nice even despite the fact that we had to work. She’s headed into to grade one this year and really loving it! The twins turned one in September. I’m not sure where that year went either. Hmm, seems to be that time is dwindling everywhere I turn. I think that happens as we age. But don’t quote me on that. Little Levi is a going concern and talking a blue streak these days. He’s filled with “whys” and other questions. He’s a boy on the go.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to share the cover of my new book with all of you soon. They’ll want it finalized to put in the spring catalogue. Not sure when that gets put together but I believe it will be relatively soon. So keep your fingers crossed. I’m getting pretty excited to see it. As you’ve probably noticed publishing is a mighty slow business. Of course they’re planning ahead all the time so they are always very busy getting their titles ready for publication. It just seems slow to all of us.

Oh yes, knitting. If you’re on Facebook with me you might be aware that I’m knitting a few pairs of slippers for a friend’s mother, trying to squeeze that in during my spare time. I’m having coffee with her next weekend so I need to be all ready for then. Three of us , friends since high school, get together once a year to catch up on all our news. It’s always a fun time.

So, that was just a bit of what’s been happening in my little corner. Nothing exciting. Just every day. The exiting life of a published writer!

The Beauty of Butterflies

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

Maya Angelou

The same could be said about writing, don’t you think? As a reader we’re presented with the final product,  edited and polished until it shines. But how many drafts, revisions, and edits did it go though to get there? We should never be discouraged with our first attempts at a story. It will change and grow over time.

Perhaps it is a good thing that readers never have to read the first drafts of some very popular books. If they did they might not want to read the finished book at all.

Enjoy your weekend!

Can You Love It and Still Find Flaws?

Reading over the comments from my last post, I started to wonder if it is possible to want both validation for our work as well as suggestions of ways to make it better?

I know when I first start working on a story I love it. I mean, you’ve got, right? Or why bother writing it in the first place? But to tell the truth once I’ve worked on it for so long, rewriting, revising and tweaking it’s darn near impossible to be objective. I get to a place where I don’t know if what I’ve written is any good —as in someone wanting to invest their time reading it.

My thinking is this, it would be nice to have someone tell me if the characters pulled them in, if it was a pager-turner, etc. etc, but of course only if it was. But at the same time I’d also want someone to point out any flaws. Hmm I suppose that would be called a critique, right?

This brings me to this question: Can you honestly like a story yet see ways that it could be improved? Or does it mean the book/the story isn’t any good if it has a number of flaws?

I’m thinking about the editing involved once an editor gets hold of your manuscript. They make suggestions, point out flaws and yet they still made the decision to publish your story. But how can that be if they still want you to make changes? I mean they want to publish it. Doesn’t that mean it’s already perfect?

One author told me her editor changed three words in her manuscript. I say wow! I don’t expect that will ever be my experience. Bitter, Sweet had 5,000 words added to it, extra scenes, a shift in one chapter from third person into first person plus some tweaking I did along the way. I worked with the suggestions my editor made and the story ended up much stronger because of it. I’ve read what other writers have said about the editing process for their books and it sounds quite similar to mine.

Right now I’m reading a book that took me a little while to get into it, but now that I am I would describe it as a good book. I like the main character and I’m enjoying the plot and I hope things work out for him. The thing is, as I’m reading this particular story I find myself being critical. Too much of this and a little too much of that. I’m not quite convinced that some of the character’s actions ring true for me. I find myself questioning it. It’s not a matter of not liking the character’s behaviour so much as it is a matter of believing their behaviour.

Yet I still call it a good book and it is truly worthy of publication. Perhaps other people would read the book and not notice what seems obvious to me. We all have different experiences with the same book and even interpret it in different ways. Or maybe I’m just cranky and looking for something to complain about. I’ve read this author’s work before and really liked it. Perhaps I’m super sensitive since I’m doing the same thing with my manuscript at the moment.

So in your opinion, is it possible for a story to be both good and flawed at the same time? And if a story is both good and flawed how much tweaking and polishing is really required considering the fact that an editor is going to want to make changes once the manuscript is going through edits?

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