Upon our return from Cuba, I was a little worried that Lil Novey, so precious and precarious in its infantile stages, would not survive my return to work schedule, but Lil Novey proved to be strong (she was, as it turned out, the story I'd been waiting for) and I not only found time to work on her every day during my lunch break, but absolutely relished in the opportunity to see her so often, even on those days when I started to wonder where she was headed (though I did have a very trusty outline, which I'll probably talk about in a future post on my writing process). Then the biggest help of all came along: Summer hours.
Summer hours in the publishing biz undoubtedly vary from company to company, but here at HQN Ent, it means working a little later from Monday-Thursday and getting every Friday afternoon off. Friday afternoon swiftly became a time for me to polish up that week's worth of lunch-break writing. Things were moving and the excitment inside me was building as I came to realize that Lil Novey had a lot of potential to be Lil Book One in a Lil Trilogy. I sat back and crafted rough outlines for Lil Book Two and Lil Book Three and that helped me to better shape my character development in Lil Novey.
Anyway, 2008 passed as years tend to do and before I knew it, it was December and Lil Novey's first draft was nearing completion. I cannot explain to you the feeling of pride and accomplishment that comes from realizing that you've written a complete manuscript. As you're writing it, you start to lose track of how many words/pages it is, how much work has gone into it, but when you write that last sentence and finally step back to look at it as a whole, you can't help but be overwhelmed by the enormity of it. Many authors refer to their manuscripts as their babies and though I'm yet to birth a human baby (I don't mean for this to sound as though I've birthed a non-human baby...I consider my cats to be my babies. I just didn't birth them), I think I understand where that reference comes from. Here lies this thing that couldn't exist with you. It's such an extension of who you are.
At the end of 2008 and into the new year, I started my first and second round of revisions, working feverishly to correct this and tighten that. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself actually laughing at some of my own dialogue (this probably makes me sounds like a bit of a loser, but I tend to see it as my characters who are being funny, not me, so it doesn't feel like I'm some lame-o laughing at my own jokes. Ok it kind of feels like that). Anyway, much anguish was put into these first few rounds of editing as I found myself suspended between the joy of having finished it and the impatience of knowing it still had a long way to go before I could send it out for agent consideration. There was nothing I could do, but keep working on it.
After my own editing was finished, I promptly sent it out to my family (I'm very lucky to have a family of teachers with a keen eye for typos, grammar and continuity errors) and that's sort of where Lil Novey currently sits. Though Lil Novey is a YA novel, typically aimed at 14-18 year old girls, my Dad was the first to finish it and provide me with three typed pages of edits and feedback, all of which I was extremely greatful for and have dutifully applied to Lil Novey.
With Easter weekend only a few days away, we plan to gather as a family and discuss Lil Novey. My parents have refered to it as a book club discussion and I have to say, I'm very excited to be able to talk about all these characters I've grown to love with the most important people in my life (who I also love). I'm hoping to take the feedback from that session and make my final (are they ever truly final?) revisions to Lil Novey before sending her out into the world to be seen by important agenty-type people and the like. It sort of feels like I'm preparing her for her first day of school. I really hope she shines.