There I am with the Thurmond, WV, depot behind me. Covering the same ground my characters did.
I submitted my latest manuscript to my editor over the weekend. After the hours of writing, re-writing, and editing you’d think I’d be glad to turn it loose and move on.
But releasing a story is surprisingly hard.
I think this is a good story. Maybe the best I’ve written. And as long as those 87,750 words are sitting on my hard drive, I can keep thinking that. But once I release them . . .
No one told me that being a writer would require me to be this vulnerable. Oh, I was warned to develop a thick skin, but it was hard to understand what that meant until I submitted a manuscript and got back those pages of editorial notes.
They’ve always been GOOD notes–thoughtful, inciteful, helpful. Well, except when my editor said churning butter in 1970s West Virginia seemed out of place. Shoot, I helped my mother churn butter many a time and I wasn’t born until 1971.
But that’s not the point.
The point is, turning a story loose is what I imagine it must be like to send a child away to school. You know your child is amazing, wonderful, exceptional even. But you also know that she likely has a few flaws you’re too biased to see. And odds are pretty good someone is going to point those out.
It was hard to hit the “send” button, but now that When Silence Sings has landed in my editor’s in-box, I feel better. He’s going to help me find any weaknesses and strengthen the story. And if it really IS good, well, then it’s about to get even better.
Within the year I’m looking forward to introducing you to Colman Harpe, Serepta McLean, Ivy, and little Emmaline. I expect they’ll all do a bit of growing between now and then and I’m excited to see it.