Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My New Novel Is Coming Out--And I'm Trying to Breathe Deeply!

I just got the big packet every writer waits for--edited pages of my soon-to-be released novel, Qualities of Light. My super-duper editor, Katherine Forrest, sent them to me for a look over and corrections. Katherine is so good at what she does and I value editors highly, but still there's a bit of a catch in the breath when I open the package and see what needs changing. She tells me over and over in the cover note, "This is a really fine novel," and then makes her suggestions.

I'm used to this. I've been a professional editor since 1986. It's part of the job. An editor only hopes for a cooperative writer, who can hold her original vision for the book--and release it for a better one.

So I took a big breath, undid the tape, shook out the contents.

She loved it! Wow...

And she had great (great!) suggestions. Tiny places to tweak, small moments to clarify, little adjustments here and there. It is making the novel really sing.
After I read through everything, accepting 99.9 % of Katherine's suggestions, I looked back in my writing notebook at my présumé exercise. I wrote it three weeks ago, on one of those snowbound days of deep writerly despair, when I didn't really believe my novel would be published, ever, ever. The présumé said this:

"April 15, 2009: Everything is moving along beautifully with my novel and publication. Katherine's edits are amazing, I'm grateful for all her insights and suggestions, and we're in good communication."
April 15, huh? Guess I was behind the timetable of the universe. Not a surprise. Présumés often happen early, in more delightful ways than we can imagine. They work because they let us let go. Once we let go the stranglehold on our creative project, lots of amazing "coincidences" occur.

You don't have to believe me. For this week's exercise, just try the présumé you didn't do last month (see post below) and make it short, sweet, and focused on something you really want to happen in your writing. Just a couple of sentences, written in present tense, as if you are looking back from a future date and feeling great about what's happened. You can post your présumé here, so we can cheer you on!