Last week, on Tuesday I think, I crawled into bed next to my guy as he pulled out the large stack of paper that is my manuscript and began reading.
“I’m cool,” I thought. “I can handle this.” I will not read over his shoulder. I will not obsess over what part he’s reading, and how he seems to be responding. I will not.
Except that I did. I was way too distracted to continue read The Marriage Plot, and so I curled up, convinced that I could sleep.
Sssccccratch. The sound of his pen against the page as he circled something sounded like lightning cracking. Then he chuckled. And the sound ranked right up there with the first time I heard my baby girl laugh. Magic.
I managed to not roll over and peek at what he was reading every time one of these sounds floated across the bed to me, but I’ll be honest – I didn’t sleep a wink until he put it aside and turned the light off.
Taking feedback has never been my strong suit. I think it’s one of the hardest parts of the writing process. It’s also one of the most vital. For me, it’s a process of gathering my strength, over and over again, to listen to the feedback I get with an open mind. To date, I’ve given my manuscript to 10 people – my writer’s group and my family (and only a few of them at that).
So far I’ve gotten notes from one of the ten – Daniel finished it Friday and we talked through the draft yesterday. My hope is to get notes from the other nine by the end of June and start in on the next draft in July. With any luck, I might actually finish the book by the end of the year. That would be so great.
It was actually very encouraging to hear Daniel’s notes. As a filmmaker, he works with story all day every day. He had a bunch of very constructive feedback. I realized I was bracing to hear that I’m a long way from done. Instead he totally loved it. The notes were along the lines of “this section slows down a little because the motivation drops away – just up it a little, keep the pressure on.” In fact, he’s been raving all weekend about how much he loved it.
Now, I know the fact that my husband loves my novel may not count for much in the literary world (even if he is a creative professional), but to me, it counts for a whole awful lot. It’s very encouraging.
Can’t wait to hear what the other nine have to say.