Uh oh. Did you think a secret would follow? One simple (or complicated) thing to do, and then presto, on to the next rung of the ladder. Like, maybe, finish your manuscript? Edit it? Get an agent even?
Tears–of pain and laughter–are rolling down my face right now.
Well, not quite. But it’s really not so simple as any one step. Like I said to Amanda, the journey of ten thousand miles begins with…
This is a journey of many, many, many, many steps. Many. Did I say that already?
Still, once Dorothy made the absolutely world shattering connection for me that people might actually like to read my work, I did decide to pursue publication.
And this is what I did as soon as I’d finished my novel and edited it as best as I was able.
I found a group of trusty readers.
Now, everyone will tell you that your trustys should not be family members. However, I believe this is because many family members will sugarcoat their reactions in the hope that they won’t have to hurt the one they love.
My family members don’t do that.
That doesn’t sound so good, does it? But I happen to be extremely close to my mom and dad, my brother and my sister, and also my husband, and that closeness can be boiled down to one thing.
The fact that my mother, father, and sister are avid fiction readers, as well as writers themselves (psychology, philosophy, and cultural criticism respectively) helps. My brother added a dose of skepticism and fact checking, and my husband has an eagle’s eye for line editing, in addition to being a master problem solver in all areas. This translated wonderfully to spotting and fixing plot glitches.
Between them all I thought I had a pretty fair group of trustys to hand over my draft of Arugula’s Mother.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you what they said.