First off, an apology. Awhile back I told you I’d finished the YA manuscript I’d been working on for three years and was handing it over to Robin and Eve for a critique in a few days. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was way too freaked out that they wouldn’t like it, that they’d say, “You spent three years on this?”
So I decided to self-edit one more time and I printed out all 246 pages and attacked it with a red pen. Why? Pure fear. So many people will be disappointed if this book sucks. First, I would disappoint the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (and who wants to disappoint an entire society?). BAKER’S DOZEN was awarded one of their Work-In-Progress grants. Second, I would disappoint SmartWriters.com. They awarded this manuscript the Grand Prize in their Write-It-Now competition. The judge for their YA category was Chris Crutcher…the first YA author I’d ever read! Was I willing to disappoint the author who turned me on to this genre in the first place? Third, I would disappoint my wife. Do you realize how many times I got out of laundry duty, or watering the plants, because I pretended to be in the middle of a plot-breakthrough?
So after that last edit, did I hand it over to Robin and Eve then? Absolutely not. I went through the entire manuscript once again. And then? Well, Eve was on the other side of the country, so last Sunday night I finally gave the manuscript to Robin. She read it in two-and-a-half days, which I took as a good sign, and I went over to her house to find out what she thought (I even brought Papa Murphy’s Pizza to butter her up). Immediately, I knew something was wrong. She kept delaying the critique. “Oh, my three-year-old needs a bath.” “Oh, the pizza’s ready.” “Oh, wanna see how we’re converting vegetable oil into fuel for the car?”
But she loved it! She even cried! I made Robin cry and I am so flippin’ happy! Why was she so afraid to tell me what she thought? Because six of the pages didn’t work for her. Six pages! “So what?!?!” I said. “97.56% of it did work for you.” So we brainstormed and figured out how to fix it and I’m just about done working through the changes. I should have the new and improved manuscript ready for Eve sometime this weekend.
Seriously. No, seriously, I promise. I will!