Manuscript Review

Last Thursday, I sent the third draft of my story to an editor for a manuscript review. Note the choice of the word “story”.  Not novel. Not its working title. Just a story.

Now, self doubt and insecurities roost upon my shoulders whispering sweet insults into my ears. The title is silly. It doesn’t fit any genre. It’s too long. It starts too slow. The setting, characters, scene, etcetera, aren’t developed. Could you have put in more commas?

Instead of listening, I’m countering with my best jabs. I’ve written a 400 page novel. All 124,000 words add up to a story. I wrote, learned, revised, learned, and revised again. I did it! And I’ll revise one more time and then search for an agent and/or a publisher. Imagine.

Imagine

Imagine.
Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, NV

Then, while my story gathers thanks-but-no-thanks pink slips, I’ll be writing the second draft of my second novel, Fault Lines. That’s right. A second complete second novel waiting for rewrite. Plus a third and fourth incubating. Perhaps I’ll write those too.

If I have time.

Because I might not.

In three weeks I start courses toward my Master of Fine Arts. The focus: short stories. Literary short stories. The kind where characters have strong opinions, or do strange things, or the topic is so obscure that critics say it’s groundbreaking, avant-garde, and extraordinary, and I fall asleep halfway through paragraph six.

Or at least that’s what I thought short stories were, and so I feared I didn’t have the experience or attitude for this program. Then I took two classes, and I learned the beauty of a short piece. How each paragraph, every word, must be necessary. I want to learn to write like that.

Today, the devils on my shoulders are silent. Love at First Lilt, my previously unnamed story, is under review, and when I’m writing, I’m happy.

If you’d like to hear my “literary voice”, here’s a flashback cut from Love at First Lilt.

Enjoy!

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Posted in Fiction, Reading and Writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

LAFL: Cut from Waterford

This is a flashback, cut from Love at First Lilt. Carly is remembering her mother, who died when she was a teenager.

When Carly was twelve, there came the night of the first spring full moon. It was a crisp white host held high in a deep black, star-studded sky. Her mother had packed a picnic dinner, and the two of them had set out on an evening hike.

The winter had been warmer than average and most of the snow had melted. They wore rubber boots, jeans with thermal lining, parkas, and hand-knitted wool hats and mittens. Carly’s mother carried their meal and a thermos of hot chocolate in a knapsack.

When the sun dropped below the horizon the temperature cooled. Vapor puffed in front of their faces. Her mother’s brown cheeks and the tip of her nose became rosy, and her straight, black hair fluttered behind and around her. She’d reminded Carly of Disney’s Pocahontas that night.


In silence they’d hiked to the edge of a small wood. Beneath the arching branches of an early budding willow tree, they’d laid out a thick brown blanket. After they’d eaten, Carly snuggled into her mother’s arms and they waited.

It was the father fox who stepped from the woods first. He sniffed the air, his red coat rippling in the breeze. She’d smiled up at her mother, who’d known they’d be downwind.

Her mother tipped her chin toward the old fox, who yipped toward the wood. Seven kits, tawny colored, with brush strokes of red on their ears, touched tiny paws to the dew-wet grass outside the wood. One, bolder than the rest, ran to the father and bit the tendon above his right hind foot. The others followed, tottering and tripping, until all were dancing around their dad. He nudged one forward and toppled another, and soon the cubs were chirping and chattering in a game of keep-away-from-dad.

Carly covered her mouth with her mitten and giggled, and her mother kissed the top of her head.

Whether it was the motion of kiss or the sound of the giggle, the father fox froze and stared toward the willow, a regal statue from the tip to tail. The pups rolled to their feet and watched their father. He yelped a series of loud warnings that tapered to a cry. Run, run, runnnn, he yelped, and the tiny ones scampered to the trees.

Then, only when they were all safely gone, he turned and followed.

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Memory and Service

In memory of those we love, and those we didn’t know,

whose sacrifices ensured our freedoms.

For their families and friends for whom,

hands on hearts,

every day is Memorial Day.

Post Card

 

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You Know You’re a Writer When…

You know you’re a writer when you turn 2,400 words into 500, and you celebrate.

NH Literary Hall of Fame Cake created by talented Southern NH University student.

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I have set my rainbow in the clouds – Genesis

Yesterday

The water threatens to overflow.

Today

The water has overflowed, but the wall holds strong.

Tonight

The promise of spring ahead.

 

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