Saturday, April 07, 2007


How can it be April already, let alone a week into April?

The kids and I are booking right along on their correspondence school work. We have a few more weeks to go and a heavy workload at that; I don't know whether we'll have to drag the process into June or not. I hope not. It would be great to have a full summer off the school stuff for once, though my preference would be to do all the science for the upcoming year over the summer. That way, when it comes time to load the packets next fall, we can just reach into the file and pull the science lessons we need at the appropriate time. Or something like that.

I got a verdict from Bob about the initial draft of Beyond the Pale. Basically, it's like this: Beginning, fabulous. End, fabulous. Middle.... Don't worry, it's not toast. I just need to hike up the conflict in places, bring a few things closer to the beginning, intensify a couple of the relationships, that sort of thing. The basic storyline will stay the same, but we'll up the stakes in various ways--some subtle, some not. To tell the truth, I had the feeling that one of my villains was a bit under-utilized. I'm not sure how that happened, but he's now going to step more into the light. He should be a threat. How could a devastatingly handsome guy who isn't who he says he is not be a threat? I dropped a couple of balls without realizing it, but I'm ready to pick them up now.

I love what happens when Bob points out things I've missed in a novel. Sometimes when I finish a novel, even though I've had a crit group on point for months, we've all missed some of the forest for the trees. Just too close to the subject, I guess. Then Bob reads it and makes a couple of comments, and everything becomes clear again. It's almost always an "Oh, yeah," reaction--something I noticed once but then forgot about, or something I might have once meant to fix but then somehow didn't. A few issues take me by surprise, but after a little thought, I can see how the suggested change--or sometimes a different but similar change--will strengthen the book and take it up a notch. I don't like making mistakes, but I love what happens to the book when they're fixed.

That's where I lucked out. Not all agents are editors, and for the most part, they shouldn't have to be. But sometimes the right comment at the right time makes all the difference in the world. I don't need a lot of hand-holding and I try not to be the squeakiest wheel on the bus. However, a little bit of input can help a lot.

When you find an agent who will market your work to publishers, that's luck. But when you find an agent who refuses to settle for less than the best book he can get out of you and knows how to make that happen, that's synergy.

1 comment:

Adrian Swift said...

Good luck with your novel!