Monday, April 19, 2010

Javelina Evolution

We talk about craft and strategy so much, but we can’t write without feelings.

I have just gone through a year of Editorial Aversion. Except for my critique group, I have not shown anything to anybody. And in the meantime, something happened in publishing. The mounds of rejections slips are now replaced at many publishers by: silence. The usual phrasing is “NEW POLICY: “If you don’t hear from us in 4 weeks (6 months, a year), you can assume your manuscript does not meet our present needs.” So I was even less motivated to put myself out for ignoring than I was for rejecting!

But all that changed in 2010. Determination was renewed and I just sent a story to an editor, a proposal to an agent, and signed up for a serious online analysis with a well known NY editor. (It was very cool to see his name in my inbox!) And signed up for two conferences to be critiqued. This is my year!

The project most under the microscope for me at the moment is my Southwestern tale about a javelina. The editor’s first round response was: “the setting is great. Your assignment is to find a different story.” Yikes! But it was constructive feedback and he is looking at it again. I did “find the new story” in the time allotted. I salvaged the setting and the name of the javalina…

But he is not the fluffy little javelina I imagined in the beginning. (OK –they are not fluffy or cuddly and no one wants a stuffed one.) I know ultimately publishing is a joint venture between author, editor and illustrator and if everyone is willing to compromise, the end project is the best it can be. The new story is probably better, but I am feeling some distance from it now. After all, the little fella might have to morph again to “meet someone’s present needs.” Maybe he’ll have to sprout wings. Turn purple. Become a bunny.

Feelings? Self-protective. Determined. A little loss and lots of hope.

Hey - my story of the lemming is perfect as it is!


  1. yeah, that is interesting the emotions such a critique can evoke, and taking him up on the suggestions. remind yourself about fluffy kitty! also, i cannot wait to see what you write when you come back from india--i am hoping for some kind of little critter you practices yoga...

  2. Add, do a jig to the list of things poor Victor maybe made to do.

  3. Great post. It's amazing how a first idea can evolve so much before it's all over. Victor will prevail!

  4. Great story of trial and tribulation! It is so strange that how writers can feel in complete control and then not in control all at the same time.

  5. A truly heartfelt post! Thank you so much for sharing.