Sunday, August 07, 2005

I got the new issue of Once Upon A Time with my article "In With The Old" in it. Fittingly, it arrived right around my birthday! (But my mom served my cake on Strawberry Shortcake plates, so I must not be too old...right?! Never mind that I was already too old for Strawberry Shortcake when she was first introduced!)

A week & a half ago, I had to submit a manuscript for critique at the October Austin SCBWI conference. I was stymied. I first thought of submitting a picture book, but doubted it was the best fit for the critiquer. Then I printed out first chapters from 3 different novel projects, to see which one I wanted to submit. I had several versions of the first chapter of Can't Beet It and had never been happy with any of them, so I stayed up pretty much all night rewriting it. While I liked the new version better, I still felt it wasn't quite right. The next day, I was leaning towards Purple Panic, but asked my husband to look at all three first chapters and tell me which one caught his eye most. He voted rather strongly for Can't Beet It--he really liked the rewrite--so that's what I ended up submitting, to my surprise.

A few days later, I dreamed that the regional advisor of our SCBWI chapter showed up at my door, telling me she'd sent all the other critique manuscripts but had lost mine. I told her it was no big deal, and that the critiquer couldn't have read them all yet, so I'd just Fed Ex mine right away. She looked unhappy with that, and I suddenly noticed she actually had my manuscript with her. I realized she hadn't sent mine because she thought it was so bad that it reflected poorly on our whole chapter, and she would rather the critiquer not see it! I told her it had once been recognized in a contest (true) and that I had 4 other manuscripts I could send if she didn't like that one...but in the end I was going to Fed Ex it and pay to send it myself, and was sad she was so disappointed in my manuscript and in me as a writer. In real life, I got word that she sent all the manuscripts, including mine, but this dream sure brought out my writerly fears!

The day I took my manuscript to her in reality, I told my kids I was going to deliver a manuscript to someone from my writing group, and we had this lovely conversation:

6-year-old son: "Is it going to be published?"

Me: "I don't know. An editor is going to read it and tell me what he thinks, and maybe if it could be published."

4-year-old son: "I think it will, because you're a good writer."

Big praise from a little person! I didn't know my 4-year-old even realized what "published" meant or that it had to do with being a good writer, nor that he had an opinion about my writing, but he definitely knew how to warm his mother's heart!


Blair said...

How exciting. I hope your sampling is met with rave reviews. Kids are amazing little people aren't they. Sounds like your boys are little sweethearts.

Anonymous said...

Hope the crit is helpful.

My heart rate it just returning to normal: when reading your 3rd par. I skimmed over the words " I dreamed " and untill the final sentence I was going "Holey carp holy carp! the RA must be a complete moron! And why did poor Alison have to cop her and OMG!OMG OMG.@^%#!
Breate Julie

I hate dreams like that.
And love heart-warming 4 year olds!

Can I ask what the "beet" in "can't beet it" is? I just did! but you don't have to answer of course, lol

Alison said...

Ha ha, sorry to alarm you! I'm assuming you are not the Julie who is my SCBWI RA, but in any case she is a great RA and that was just a silly dream! (Though we'll see if I'm still laughing when I get the crit back...!) The "beet" is in fact a juicy red beet on a stick--my poor main character has to work at a fast food beet stand! Though I've toyed with calling the manuscript something like "Deadbeet" instead, since a lot of it is about his lack of ambition.