On April 15th I submitted the first draft of my manuscript- 75,000 Microsoft words that expose my crazy in print. Writing that draft was overwhelming. cathartic and satisfying. I put 27 years on paper. All of the vulnerability, the awkwardness of growing upward and growing outward, every last embarrassment, the proud moments, the times I considered Oreos an essential food group- they’re in there. Last week, that manuscript arrived, heavy and overbearing, in my mailbox.
My editors, bless them, are wonderfully honest and I love that; I do. They said it was a true joy to read. They assured me, Your writing, your style- they’re lovely. Lovely.That area is beautiful as it is. The work will be a matter of expanding on ideas and stories and characters.
I’ll be adding detail and backstory to the parts that seemed hazy, the dusty moments I barely swept over. And really, all of the red ink I found on this draft- it made perfect sense; it was undoubtedly the right advice. The areas I felt shaky in writing are underlined. Dig deeper here. The areas where I tiptoed, they urge me to trudge through. The places where I made generalizations are caution-taped.
Their notes were spot on.
It’s strange and wonderful to write a book. It’s even stranger to write a book about yourself. The level of introspection is unnerving. I wonder- Am I looking in a mirror or am I painting a portrait of myself? Does objectivity exist at all here? Do I like the main character in spite of her eccentricities or because of them? How many times is too many times to mention peanut butter and fluff sandwiches?
What I struggled with in writing it- How to condense a lifetime, how to describe food as both my protagonist and antagonist, how to make the story weigh as much as I did and do?
I’m working on these still. What’s interesting about this blog is that I often feel like I’m taking my clothes off publicly. I can’t think of many things I wouldn’t- or haven’t– exposed about myself. But the book deserves even more. The book should be even more intimate than what I do here. And trust me- it will be.
Let round 1 of edits commence.