Saturday, August 6, 2011

score one for me

We all know better than to ask a friend or relative to read a WIP and then expect legitimate feedback from them, right? But what if someone begs mercilessly to have a peek at it? Oh, all right, I admit it--I gave in. But there were extenuating circumstances in this case.

About six years ago, this friend pried my clenched fist open and pressed Elizabeth Berg's "Talk Before Sleep" into it.

She insisted I would love this book. But I didn't read fiction back then. Who had time? I read medicine--I studied it, I lived it, I dreamt it. Still she assured me that the book was a quick read...and because I love her, I did it for her. I read the book.

Well! Not only did I LOVE the book...I grew to despise that woman, Berg. I envied her that much. I couldn't imagine ever writing so well. I abandonned the pursuit of my own dream out of pure, unadulterated despair.

I've written before about my oppositional-defiant muse (see my post, "not happening..." from 6/26/11).

Thank goodness for her! Didn't she put her foot down and start feeding me little snippets of character, scene, and dialogue until that smoldering ember of desire burst into flame...and "The Bandaged Place" took on a life of its own.

The point of all this is that my friend's health is now failing. Badly. And all along she has begged to read my manuscript. So I felt as though I owed it to her. After all, this whole writing thing started with the book she insisted on lending me years ago. And...well, she doesn't know what her future holds at this point. So, I handed over the manuscript with every intention of ignoring the rave reviews I expected from her.

That was over a month ago and I hadn't heard back from her. She traded two books to me for the chance to read mine and I had finished both of  them so, tonite, I thought it was time to check in with her. Truth be writing has been bogged down lately. I'm still reeling from the rejections I received since I began querying agents. I needed a pat on the back...the warm embrace of a supportive friend and reader...some semblance of encouragement. Frankly, I wanted her to tell me she loved it!! That she truly and honestly loved my story. I needed to imagine that there might still be reasonable hope for me to self-publish if nothing else.

Long story short, when I called her tonight, she was actually in the process of reading my manuscript (which explains why she hadn't gotten back to me). Of course, she had only good things to say about it--I expected as much. But this is the thing: she is a raving Pirates fan and she chose to ignore tonight's game because she couldn't put the book down!

 Score one for me! Never underestimate the positive energy of a faithful and honest friend. I feel better already!
"All great innovation is built on
--Louis-Ferdinand Celine--
My next post will consider the pros and cons of a legitimate critique group!

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