What a delight it is to send the hubby off to work and the children off to school and settle down at the computer to do some actual writing again.
First stop this week was my Cambodian novel. I wrote the first draft in 2005, under the title “Chocolate Brown Vanilla”. Since then it’s been through a number of name changes, including “Women Are Cloth”,” When it Rains” and most recently (my favourite) “Child of Fortune”. It’s undergone some huge changes in the seven years I’ve been working on it, with some highs like getting a spot in the QWC/Hachette Manuscript development award, winning an ASA mentorship with Judith Lukin Amundsen, and recently making the Amazon shortlist: and some big pits of lows – all those rejections from publishers.
Working with Judith on the manuscript has been incredibly helpful. To have her wise and experienced eyes on the manuscript I’d read and almost written to death was the perfect cure for my jaded vision of it.
Like the best of midwives, with a few carefully chosen words she steered me back in the right direction, while letting me keep control and total ownership over the process.
Writers out there with a manuscript that you feel like spewing on every time you get it out to redraft, an editor’s input will make all the difference. I promise. This week I’m reading it aloud, to catch any awkward sentences, and looking for ways to bring more life to minor characters. It’s almost done. And then I’ll be sending it out into the world to find a good home.
Next week I’ll be tackling the much bigger job of a major rewrite of the latest novel, “Into the Fire”, set in the cane fields of far north Queensland.
I always hope that my process will become shorter, that I won’t need all those years to get a story just right. But so far, I’m about two years in on “Into The Fire”. Sigh. With any luck, sooner rather than later, I’ll get some good editorial guidance, preferably from a publisher and save myself a few years.
The lesson here? Never give up. As I’ve told my students and friends many times. Persistence is the key. The only key!
Lots of love