Though no lit. agent has asked to see more of you, though no publisher has picked you up for printing, though you haven’t landed us on a single bestseller list or won us any awards (because I’ve just started pitching you to agents and you can’t be found online, or in a store, or anywhere else in print) … you’ve achieved marvelous things already. And I’m writing this letter to share my gratitude for those accomplishments. So Buckle your pages, sit back, and enjoy the stellar praise from the person that created you!!
- You gave me purpose. How’s that for starters?? I wasn’t sure I could be a writer. True, I knew I liked to write, but the writing I’d done before I sat down to write you didn’t fill all the elements of my soul so completely and wonderfully as writing you did. Thank you for allowing me to find me, and allowing me to be me – in more harmonious fashion. Took us a year and a half to make you complete, but the rewards reaped from writing you have been blessings only you could have bestowed upon me. Thank you!
- You taught me I CAN finish something! As my long, horrible track record of unfinished work shows: I’d never finished any project until I took you on – and wrote you right til the end. Through revision after revision, you nagged at my brain noodle and begged me to make you whole/better. For some crazy reason, I accepted your challenge, probably because you believed I could do so without f***ing you up. I’m still not sure why you trusted me. Every time I sat down to “improve you”, I wasn’t sure if that’s what was I was doing, or if I was overworking you to a point of phony pretension. Why worry? I didn’t want to destroy everything awesome you stood for in your rough draft form. I didn’t want to jumble the plot, add too much where unnecessary or cut out the great bits that made you You. Somehow, you allowed me, an unproven amateur, to write you to completion. The good news is I think we struck the right balance between edited and instinctual writing due to our sessions together. Bravo Book, bravo – for trusting me and letting me finally prove myself as an author that can finish something, Aka, you.
**** More edits are coming. This counts as fair warning.
- Thank you for teaching me that with patience, pain, perseverance, and a lot of elbow grease (plus minimal moments of joy) that I can suffer through what it means to be an artist and still call art my passion. Untested passions walk a tightrope of existence within their carriers, with their carriers always fearing the day that their passions will break or be extinguish by testing.
Now I get why artists say that only those willing to suffer through their art and come out on the other side have felt the artist experience.
How I still love writing, and call it my calling after all the times I swore I hated it, is only because I never hated writing You enough to quit You. I thought about it, sure – All the damn time. But now I can wear my artist badge proudly because I’ve survived the fires of suffering for you.
What suffering you ask? Childbirth isn’t pain free = You weren’t easy to write. As you well know, You are complex and varied: a mash up of different themes ranging from memoir to dark comedy to suspense to thriller to psychological mind f**k to cozy beach read – ok, there’s not too much that’s cozy about you (and we both are grateful for the boldness of your voice and plot), and yes, you can be read at the beach. But you get my point. Your main character is the lovable villainess you wanted her to be because you allowed me the time to writer in all of her dynamics. That didn’t happen overnight, and it wasn’t a candy rainbow stroll in the park either. Or Is your main character completely innocent? Maybe she’s batshit crazy… batshit crazy genius crazy! Or maybe she’s all three?? That’s up to your readers to decide. I’m curious to see which personality suit they pick her to wear by the end. You book, are therefore, also an experiment in perception. How cool is that?
- You taught me how to write. When I started scribbling the first words (that would later become you) in that burgundy notebook out of frustrations/ worry that I might never finish anything/sell anything, I was an okay writer. I wasn’t horrible. Okay, I was kind of horrible, and definitely nowhere near great. Back to topic: When I started crafting you in that notebook, I wasn’t concerned. I just wanted a mad soap opera of a story that made headline news look like child’s play. Since then, I’ve learned it was only through working on you that I was able to learn: how to bring plot into the mix at the right points, how to paint a scene (describe scenes, smells, colors, fabrics in exciting ways). You also taught me how to craft a metaphor like my life depended on it, how to perfect dialogue while stay away from dreaded use of adverbs in dialogue. You taught me about pacing, and scene closings, and chapter joiners, and staying on topic, and cutting the excess, and giving shared responsibility to other characters, and so much more. You schooled me. It hurt like hell. For the record, let me say that I took some big beatings on my brain noodle to get your teachings ingrained. But I am grateful for every lesson, knowing full well there are more to come. You taught me that I can always be a better writer, and for that, I am humbled and happy.
- You allowed me to share my work with others. Before I wrote you, I never wanted anyone to see anything I’d written. Yeah, yeah. You might disagree because I let a few friends see some stuff years ago. But to me that doesnt count because I knew their comments would err on the side of kindness. Showing your work to your friends that aren’t writers isn’t the same thing showing your work to strangers that are writers to get a “real” critique. You forced me to show you to complete strangers!!! It was scarier for me than it was for you, trust me. But they were praise worthy and kind!! I was shocked. You weren’t. You knew how good you were, and kept begging us to parade you for more eyes to see. The more we showed you off, the less fear we had in doing so. Now we are sending you to complete strangers called literary agents. We got to this point because after many months of you telling me you were ready for new eyes, I’m finally convinced you are an Entity that can stand on your own two feet. Yes, you need an editor to get even strong, but you’re almost there – in book form, standing on a shelf or lying on a table at Barnes and Noble – the ultimate physical test for any Book. And it’s All because you begged me to share you with others, even before you had all your chapters done. Book, you’re one brave, crazy, outspoken piece of work. That’s why I love you, and I hope others will love you too for who you are. But remember that wherever you go, and how many eyes see your pages, you’re still mine!
- With number 5 on the list comes number 6….You taught me how to handle negative feedback. Oh… It wasn’t easy. No one is saying I didn’t cry and contemplate throwing you in the trash (sorry, I look like a bad mom for admitting this, but it’s true. I can say this on WordPress because I didn’t do it. I also didn’t drive off the road, down into a ditch so I could kill myself instead of having to revise you and make you better. Yep, showing you to new eyes didn’t always bring glowing reviews. Your own grandfather (a harsh critic, trust me. If he didn’t like my grade school artwork, he told me.) said it was boring in parts, though he liked the MC (main character) and found you immensely quotable throughout. So we revised it accordingly, but we kept the essence of you intact. Another beta reader said you were too much to read because you were too weird and strange and edgy and graphic (which is why we love you). I think he made it through three chapters before you overwhelmed him and he stopped reading. But, after I got done crying and contemplating laying you down for a dirt nap or killing myself… I realized that your critics hated you for the very reasons I loved you. You, Book, are sassy, wild, rugged, and say it like it is. You swear, and talk about abuse and jacked up families and drug use. You shine a light into the lint filled corners of trailer campers, and under beds that way too much has happened on. You don’t hold anything back. That’s going to be too much for some to handle. But you aren’t boring. You are relentless.
It Took me awhile to figure out my reader that was uncomfortable with your approach said you “didn’t go anywhere”, (Which I misinterpreted to mean you were plot less and boring…) solely because he wanted you to move on and talk about something else, something nice, something more pleasant.
Well guess what?? Too bad for them. You don’t give in until the topic is uncovered and dealt with. Bravo, Book! What they don’t know is that you’re not all guts and razor blades and pills and misery. You are charming, and funny, and vulnerable. You are kind and compassionate with your characters words. You don’t rush actions or force fake scenarios to get people in trailer parks where they don’t belong. You linger when you should. You remenisce and romance and wax lyrical on topics ranging from how we should deal with our memories to the best way to nuke a pot pie – as only you do best. You cover the good and that bad in a way that you needed to – you did so to form a genuine persona/identity as the Book you are. You, Book, are fully realized. I’m proud of you for that.
- You’re good. Yes, You need more work, and you’ll never be finished, and I pray there aren’t any more typos I didn’t catch yet. Or plot holes. And I hope you “work” as a thriller and a suspense and as a book club book in the upmarket fiction genre. Truth is, we both know there’s a few errors hiding in your 96,000 words. Don’t you worry, Book! Well find them and well bust them out, and get you polished for the public. I promise you that. I’ve got your back, Book. I will do what I have to do to get you seen and sold. You were there for me before I knew who the hell I was, and now that you’re whole, it’s my turn to hold up my end of the bargain, for both of us. Let the world see you and let the world get to know you and enjoy you. We’re in this together til THE END.
Sincerely and thank you!
Your devoted, appreciative author.