I should probably have some sort of organized post (okay, stop snorting, I AM organized, on occasion... sometimes...) but I don't. I've got a manuscript flapping in the wind with an agent that I would just chew my arm off to land. It's been what seems like a lifetime since I sent the ms out (have you ever noticed how time slows down after you hit the send button?) and I'm wearing a rut in the carpet that could swallow an elephant. I know that the agent is an 'editorial' agent... so I'm hoping, and praying, and lighting little paper lanterns that he's making busy little notes and I'll eventually get an email with positive things in it. But statistically, I'm thinking things are going to end with a few wild moments of Sicilian hair rending and a few thousand calories worth of chocolate.
And since sending the ms out, I've gotten feedback from a beta reader that was, well, not awesome. I mean, she said it could be a good story BUT... and there was rather a laundry list of things she suggested that I change or research more. Things I didn't entirely understand her problems with, things that I'd thought weren't an issue at all, things that took me at the blindside. It made me question myself more deeply than I ever have. After a rough few days, I ventured to ask my bro-in-law, one of my other beta readers what he thought of the book. He didn't agree with the first beta reader at all. He 'got' all the things she didn't. He didn't have issue with a lot of the things she did (she's an anthropology major and this is the book about Ansel the albino Athabaskan) and he loved the characters that she felt were never really developed. Knowing his opinion, even if I haven't read his full critique, helped a lot. Sort of.
How do you know how seriously to take your beta reader's opinions? I mean, if someone tells me that the pacing drags logistically, I can fix that. If they tell me that it drags because there's too much mooning between two characters who are falling in love and have never been in love before, and the other betas don't think there's too much mooning, how do I take that? Respectfully I could have done with about a tenth of the mooning in the Twilight saga... but obviously I'd be outside the other 95% of the population... including agents and editors. So what defines the line between 'something doesn't work because you've mucked it up logistically' and 'something doesn't work because I don't like it'?
Whew... sorry about that blather but it's been a burr under my saddle. I'm not someone who dithers and question themselves. I can take rejection and critiquing, but this has been hard because I've found myself convincing myself that I've screwed up my chance with a great agent by blundering all of these things I thought I'd gotten right. And even having one beta (my bro-in-law is a great reader despite our connection. He has no trouble with detachedly telling me something stinks and why.) tell me my story is not trash, doesn't eradicate the fact that another beta didn't like the story at all. Even knowing that the book isn't her 'her cup of tea' from the get-go doesn't mean that there isn't some truth to her opinion of the book. I don't know. *obsessively starts dithering again*
And now for the OMG so Fracking Adorable part...
I recently (don't ask the exact date, I'm waaay to scattered to figure that out) found Rebekah Joy Plett. Can I just say that I LOVE going over to her blog? Not only do her posts make me smile, but all of her art? SERIOUSLY? SO FRACKING ADORABLE! I want to get half of them as tattoos so I can wake up and see them first thing every morning. Don't wince, I do love tattoos, but I'm not going to disappear under ink any time soon. Not that there's anything wrong with people covered in the stuff :) Anyway, you should absolutely scoot on over and check out Rebekah's blog. And if you do, give her a big high five because she just signed on with the super cool zombielicious Bree Ogden of Martin Literary Management. I admit that I stole the term 'frack' from one of her congratulatory commenters... what can I say? It's an awesome word... And I like me some learning of new awesome words... :)
Next post? A breakdown of the 'ancient dog home alone affect on breaking glass alarm systems' equation...