Now what? I’ve handed off my manuscript, Rolling for Coal, to a few highly capable beta readers. Part of me wants to gulp and say, Fate rests in their hands. Everything from this point on, it’s up to them.
But we all know, that’s just not true. All I honestly expect from my wonderful readers is honest and constructive feedback, nothing more. If it’s terrible, tell my why. If it’s wonderful, tell my how to make it even better. If it’s average, let’s go grab a beer and think about the next one.
If I step back, I can’t help but smile at the path I have taken to get to this point. My wife encouraged me to sign up for a creative writing class when I was, ahem, between jobs. I fell in love with writing for fun. This blog was born. I even became a stalker – a book stocker. I obsessed over how-to-write books, and dove head first into an education process that unraveled onto the pages of Rolling for Coal. I studied the craft, I practiced revision, I even thought about editing. Then, last weekend, I decided I had learned all I could learn. I needed to be read, if I wanted to learn anything further.
I am grateful for the folks, who represent about half of a jury, who will read my story. I know that my education will continue with their feedback, and I am incredibly excited to hear their thoughts on the story, the characters, and the plot. Why am I excited? I know they will be honest, and I will learn a great deal from their notes and insight- in the end, this will make me a better writer.
No, I’m not hedging or kidding myself: back before I wrote RFC, for whatever reason, I decided it would take three books for me to get published. My first would serve as my education, my second as my apprenticeship, and my third, well that would be the one that I would ultimately sell.
For the record, yes, there is a part of me that wants to skip straight to that third bit – to be published. The reality is I’m okay with whatever happens. I have learned an incredible amount about writing, and reading, and I am simply happy to have written a novel – no matter where it may go from here.
So what now? 1. Celebrate. 2. Dream. 3. Create (start the next one).