07 April 2006

Just so you know where to find me.

I got one rejection too many today, so I'm going to take the pseudonym "Stephen King" and move to Maine.

It will be fun, she said wistfully, until the authorities kick the door in.

***

Anne Dillon wrote this in "The Writing Life:"

"The line of word is a hammer. You hammer against the walls of your house. You tap the walls, lightly, everywhere. After giving many years' attention to these things, you know what to listen for. Some of the walls are bearing walls; they have to stay, or everything will fall down. Other walls can go with impunity; you can hear the difference. Unfortunately, it is often a bearing wall that has to go. It cannot be helped. There is only one solution, which appalls you, but there it is. Knock it out. Duck."

I was able to knock out some bearing walls after reading that, though it feels pretty awful right now. I'm trying to get the story rebuilt and that's what needs to be done. I know it does work, eventually, and I will get a better story for it. Just hard to believe that at this juncture.

I do hate being so close to the story that I don't know what to do with it or how to proceed, and then I start questioning every decision I make with the MS, and then I start wondering if I'm just doing everything wrong and I should just go back to school and be a mechanic.

Haven't gotten to the point where I have scrapped everything yet. But I have been taking an awful long break from the MS during the last two weeks. Not liking that too much.

4 comments:

Lizzy said...

Do you ever do like I do, and write a chapter (or a whole book) and say to yourself, "this is good," and the next time you look at it you say, "this sucks," and revise, and on and on, ad infinitim? (I have no idea if I spelled that word right. Never took Latin).

You have a lot of guts to do the 90 sec pitch. Question: why did you go for the agent crit instead of an editor crit?

Melinda said...

Girl, I do that all the time! After a while I get to that tricky point where the chapter's no longer sucky, and it looks good, but that's when the real work starts. Because then I start getting really lazy on that stuff, thinking, "Aw, it's good enough," but it STILL NEEDS WORK. It's astonishing how much work a book needs. You could revise forever, except there's always another book coming along that wants your attention.

Actually, I've already gotten a critique from the editor who's going to be at the conference (I got the crit from her last year, then met her once again after that). I'm really interested in writing for her house and maybe she knows it. But at the same time, the agent is one I haven't met before, who has a good list, though unfortunately I'm not sure if I'm the best match for her list. I basically want to meet with her and see what we have to offer each other. I don't want to pass up the chance to expand my network a little bit. Also, I could use an agent. Even if she's not interested in taking me on, perhaps she could refer me to someone who would be.

Whew!

Lizzy said...

Oh, did she critique your raccoon book? (I'll be attending the MWG conference, and I saw the link to your website with your sample chapters on the JWKC site. Very cool.)

Melinda said...

Actually, no, she'll be critiquing The Symphonians, my novel about love, music, and abuse. It's my best story because I revised the absolute heck out of it.

But you know, one of the 90 second pitches is from Leavetaking, my first raccoon novel that I'm whining a lot about. But the other 90 second pitch is from Symphonians and has some good fireworks. I really am thinking about using that one.

I'm glad you'll be at the MWG conference. I think you will be glad too!