It’s been two weeks since I finished the first major round of revisions (there were several edits along the journey) on FORTITUDE. While waiting to hear back from beta readers, I’m working on the synopsis and query letter for it. Plus, a lot of knitting and watching movies have happened—it’s not all work here. Also, I’ve been reading a couple of my friends’ manuscripts. Finished with one from MeLeesa Swann and now I’m on to Israel Parker’s latest epic.
The good news, among all this waiting, is that I can work on the official soundtrack for FORTITUDE. As noted in this post, I like the music to match the arc of the novel. With this being a historical journey, I’m trying to make sure the lyrics fit the times. (Think Bid Time Return—that’s Somewhere in Time to the movie buffs—so the listener/reader isn’t jarred out of the story. Yeah, I’m a geek.) So, out of over thirteen hours of FORTITUDE mood music, I’ve got to arrange a manageable list of timeless songs to share with others. But I’ve stumbled across a few gems in my regular playlist mixes that weren’t in my collection, including this one, which works perfectly during the lowest point for main character Claire O’Farrell, “Reason” by Europe.
A writing life is full of its own highs and lows and this week, though it’s just beginning, has both.
How do I know?
I’ve already experienced the spectrum of emotions.
Good news first: I passed twenty-five thousand words on the first draft of FORTITUDE. Most days I’m making myself write first thing in the morning and then again at night. That helps me stay focused on the storyline and keeps the characters fresh in my head.
Not so great news: my first rejection from a full manuscript submission. The publishing company gave me the opportunity to resubmit after the a few issues are beefed up and praised my quality of writing, but CORRODED is still looking for a home.
Also on the horizon this week is conducting my final meeting as president of Mobile Writers Guild. (I’ll let you decide where that scores on the spectrum.) Members vote for the new officers at the Thursday night meeting. It’s been a learning experience during the two terms I served and I’m ready to pass the mantel on to the next president.
Through it all, I’m working to keep my fortitude noncorrosive. And, yes, the fern on the oak is still alive.
Right about midnight, I finished my revision of Corroded, just under four months shy of when I received my critique back from Laurie Halse Anderson. For those new readers, yes, that’s the Laurie Halse Anderson, award winning author and NYT bestseller. Be sure to check my other blog posts listed in the category menu on the right under topics such as her name, critique and major freak out.
My revision started slow. I rewrote the last 24,700 words since the beginning of June. In the three months before, I’d only written 16,200. At the end of May, I realized it would take me the rest of the year to finish my rewrite unless I made it a priority. So, with motivational help of my critique group friends (holla to Meleesa, Stephanie, and Israel—thanks for the late night chats) I pounded out over a thousand words most days in the past three weeks, concluding with 3,594 last night.
Now I’m tasked with reading through the last few weeks’ worth of writing before sending it out to my Write Club friends (the above, plus Joyce and Lee Ann) as well as a new beta reader. And I’m finally going to take the time to watch the complete series of Firefly as a reward!
You can tell how much I’m avoiding something by how organized my home is. In the past few days I’ve cleaned the kids’ playroom, organized their closets, straightened my desk, and helped my parents with their organizing.
This past Friday, I received my full professional critique back from Laurie Halse Anderson. (Yes, you have the right to be jealous!) She did a thorough job. After reading her write-up I knew she hit my strengths and weakness spot on. But I’ve been avoiding reading through the manuscript—not quite sure what to do with myself when what I’ve been waiting months for is back in my court. I’ll be forced to act, to move CORRODED up to the next level toward publication.
And it’s paralyzing.
So, rather than taking that last step, I did everything else I could possibly do without feeling guilty. Things that need to be done. I couldn’t just sit in front of the TV and zone-out. I’m not wired that way. Those that have spent an extended period of time around me know I’m a pacer. I can’t sit still when the situation is out of the norm—my nervous energy must be put to work. And sitting down and reading through 176 pages of blue (not red) notes on my story is beyond my sphere of comfort.
But I finally did it Saturday night. It wasn’t as painful as I expected. Now, I’m laying out my plan of action for the rewrite—think this will be edit #7…