Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mentor comments

Whenever I get an email from my mentor with the subject line, "Your submission," I stare at my inbox for a while, taking short, shallow breaths. I wonder, should I open it right away? But what if it's really negative comments? Maybe I should open the other, safer emails--from my husband, or occasionally, something actually work related? That's what I did this time, taking care of a few easy tasks while that big scary email stared at me from my inbox.

And when I did finally open it, my jaw clenched, I breathed a sigh of relief. She called my work a "pleasure to read"! I was really happy with the story I submitted, so I was extra scared that she wouldn't be. I definitely have a lot of revising work ahead though. She points out (correctly) that my plot is nowhere near as strong as my characters, so I have to work on that minor (haha) thing. It was a little disheartening that, at the end of her comments she wrote:

"My expectations are that it will be a major revision, which means really thinking about what does and doesn'’t work, going at the piece with a ruthless pen, and trying lots of ideas out. What you end up with as a second draft may feel further off the mark to you, but it'’s part of the process of breaking a story down and rebuilding it to discover what it's really about."

The idea of ending up further off the mark makes me want to cry. Stupid process.

But anyway, overall, I am delighted to know that at least I was not deluding myself that this story was on the way to being something.
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bostonerin said...

Hey, Bug! I'm glad you're getting feedback from someone you trust and admire. Working through this process can be so difficult at times; it's nice to know that you can rely on people with clear visions of your work--similar to your own--to help you out.

FatCharlatan said...

It IS a tough process, isn't it? Just keep the "it was a pleasure to read" comment pasted above your PC when you sit down with your ruthless pen!

And it's totally okay to cry. I was telling TI the other day that I cried a lot during my last submission. And I'm not even a big crier.

You're right: stupid process. :)

Now, get back to it! :)

Anonymous said...

"Your work is a pleasure to read" is great feedback! I'd love for T to say something like that. Good stuff. And a lot of people struggle to develop their characters (me for one), so that is a great gift you have there.

Bug said...

Thanks for your lovely comments. I am generally pleased with her feedback (from an ego standpoint; very pleased from a more neutral place). I do feel very lucky to see eye to eye with her, esp. considering i knew nothing about her before this summer. I'll post tomorrow with some ideas for revision... (And FC, oddly enough, I am a HUGE cryer, and I haven't found myself crying that much lately. Maybe we've switched places.)

GoGo said...

Hmm. When I read your last few words, my reaction was "Bug's not trusting herself". In breaking it down what if what you really love about the story gets better and where it takes you is unexpected but REAL good?

Just a thought. Smiles.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're getting quality feedback, which means you're moving in the right direction.

Trust your instincts.

Repeater said...

Congrats, bug. I liked that story a lot too. Tough love, baby. It'll slap us around and make good writers out of us. (Of course I'm also going to FC's advice and tape up my positive comments!)