The work around here never ends for Mr. Bacavis, Annette, and myself. There are queries left to write and edit, and plenty of squeak toys to disembowel! (Don’t belittle Nettie’s job; she does good work!).
With the manuscript polished and ready to go, I’ve begun the most terrifying part of the process! I pushed myself through the writing blocks and bumps, learned to take criticism from beta-readers, handed over my story to brutally honest kid and adult readers, embraced the endless hours (days, weeks, and months) of revision, and now, at long last, I have submitted my work to be considered by several different literary agencies. And the work doesn’t end there, or even when I do, at long last, find the right agent. But I don’t want the work to end; I want it to last as long as the words keep coming and the ideas keep plaguing my imagination.
To keep my focus on writing and away from the discouraging things (rejection, impatience, and self-doubt) I have begun scribbling down the ideas for a sequel to Beyond the Bramble. Another adventure for Lila and her goblin friends, one that introduces new characters and more unexpected obstacles for her to overcome. Another adventure worth going on…
The editing never ends! But the book really gets sharper and better with every re-write. Thanks to all of the readers who have already given such great feedback. So far, it feels like everyone who has read the book has given me different sorts of feedback. Some have focused more on characters, while others have focused on grammar, story flow, and the meaning beneath the surface of the story. I feel like I need to add a chapter just to thank everyone for being a part of the process. Annette would like me to mention that she is very much a part of the process too. She nips my toes when I’ve been writing for too long, and she does her best to provide me with plenty of mischievousness to write about.
The feedback I have been getting has been positive and extremely constructive. As people sent me their comments on the book, I bounced them off of my dashing editor (Mr. Bacavis) and we kept revising and improving the book. The result of all this feedback is that my book’s plot is getting stronger and its language more vivid.
What did readers want to see more of? Readers wanted to know more about how the characters looked and what their deeper motivations were. Best of all, the readers wanted to know what would happen next to their newly discovered friends: Lila, Annette, Wilden, and Pim. Having kid readers come back to me with eager questions and genuine concern for the characters let me know that something within the book was working.
Best compliment of all? A girl who isn’t a strong reader and shies away from books thought it was fun to read part of my book aloud with her mom. I could quit here and I’d be happy with that measure of success.
Annette after surgery
…in real life.
I haven’t been neglecting writing. Actually, I’ve been writing and revising non-stop for all of June and now July. Since my initial blog post, I finished my first draft, took an amazing two-week road trip to Portland, revised a second draft, and then life went insane somewhere between getting home from our trip and right now.
Along with a slew of other crazy things going on, Annette had a major surgery last Thursday. She just turned 9 months old and she needed to have a corrective surgery for her luxating patella before she stopped growing. That means 8 to 12 weeks of recovery for bone and flesh to heal. She’s a tough little pistol, but she’s only a little thing and surgery terrifies me. She isn’t technically “broken” but that little skip in her step could lead to worse things if we don’t repair it now.
I know this post isn’t strictly book-related, but Nettie is officially a character out of Beyond the Bramble, so anything pertaining to her is legitimate. My next post will be more visual and story-focused!