After 20 years, two literary agents, scores of versions, countless edits, reams and reams of paper, and at least two million keystrokes, I have published a novel.
It has been a journey of hard work, doubt, confidence, inspiration, ecstasy, despair, and friendship, a journey of failures and successes, and most consistently, of learning a craft by trial and error and by the examples of the thousands of writers who’ve gone before me.
This blog is the story of an author and that author’s work, which is, in very real terms, about a person and a life. Writing has no other themes.
And it is very much a work in progress…..writers know no other way to live.
Now about the novel …
I am a reluctant published. Not because publication hasn’t always been a goal but because I always envisioned that publication would come after a publisher’s editor had carefully and meticulously reviewed my work. Thus I am a writer in search of such editorial scrutiny.
I read once that author Harper Lee, whose monumental book To Kill a Mockingbird was published to great success, worked with a devoted editor for a year before her book was released. In fact, if I remember correctly, Miss Lee lived with or near her editor and his wife.
These days few writers—almost none really—have that such help and guidance.
To some writers that kind of oversight feels like it takes away from them and from their work. But it doesn’t. It should do the opposite. I’ve been at this game long enough to know with absolute certainty that good editors are worth their weight in readers. And I am lucky to know some. A good substantive editor can make your work shine every bit as much as Brasso can make a railing sparkle. (A good line editor can help it gleam.)
I, however, have been editor-less in the way Miss Lee was not despite one painful experience with a NYC editor who was clearly more interested in her fee than in my book. And it is this lack that leads me to feel insecure about publication.
For those who don’t have or can’t afford editors (who can be expensive), knowledgeable critique groups and honest friends are a close second. But I have a strong caution here: The operative words are knowledgeable and honest. I’ll write another post on that later, so stay tuned.
But the reality is this: Sometimes you have to trust those who have your best interests at heart. Therefore, I have trusted friends who have encouraged me to publish.
And now I have.