Tuesday, March 22, 2005
How I Got Here, Part 18
So I write 17 parts of my story, finally mention kicking a cabinet—and that gets a rise out of y’all. What is it--the visual? Pain for the woodwork? At any rate, whether I do it literally or not, “kicking cabinets” long ago became my metaphor for those moments of utmost frustration in writing.
Like when my agent told me to rewrite my novel—again.
But, as I said, I was now on a path, so I hunkered down and did the rewrite of Cast A Road Before Me. I altered much of the main character’s internal problem and her arc of change within the story. Wove the spiritual aspect deeply into the plot. As I was writing, I knew I’d gotten it.
Yeah, yeah. You’ve heard this before.
So off went a novel in the mail. Again. (One of the greatest things with e-mail these days is not having to send hard copy manuscripts through the post office. A click of the send button, and it’s gone.)
Finally, back came Jane’s answer. Yes—you got it! Manuscript’s ready to send out to those editors at Christian publishing houses. !!!!!!! Oh, man, oh, man. Maybe now . . . After all, by this point it was 1999. I’d begun my tenth year of writing fiction. To say I was ready for a sale was like saying the ocean was a tad moist.
Jane contacted some houses, giving ’em her “hot new author” spiel. Three agreed to look at the manuscript. Aaahhh!
Please, God, please, God, please God. . .
While I waited, I had to channel my energy somewhere. I flung myself into a rewrite of Color the Sidewalk for Me for the Christian market. Don’t ask me what number of rewrite this was for that story—I’d already lost count. But this one, just like my Christian rewrite of Cast a Road, made such a huge difference. The spiritual aspect gave it deeper motivation, greater conflict, more emotion. The story shone like never before.
Meanwhile, I’d been hearing of this terrific Christian writers conference put on every spring in Mount Hermon, CA—just an hour down the road. Jane encouraged me to go. All three editors who had my Cast a Road manuscript would be attending. I didn’t need to pitch my story to any more editors, but the networking and meeting these folks face to face would be very helpful. Jane made sure to tell the editors I would be there. My assignment was to track the three down and schedule some one-on-one time to meet with each of them. However, I couldn’t expect that any of them had yet read the manuscript since they hadn’t had it for long.
Okay. But I could always hope . . .
So off I went to my first Mount Hermon conference, scared to death, intimidated—and not about to show it. As it turned out, I would come away from the conference with something far different than I’d imagined.
Read Part 19