Twenty-nine days and twenty-four thousand words later, a new version of Nikko’s Bond came into the world, polished and gleaming. I finished the latest draft on April 28th and spent the past three days polishing each chapter. I’d like to say it’s perfect, but we know nothing is ever error-free. Plus, I read through the manuscript less than twenty-four hours after writing it – not enough time to adequately separate myself from the words on the page.
Does this mean I think I’m sending Brianne an inferior product? No. The book is good – damn good – but it may contain a few inconsistencies that only time away from the text would permit me to catch. The plus side to this is by sending it to her, I’m getting another set of eyes on it, and hopefully between the two of us we’ll eliminate everything before she takes the manuscript out on submission.
Can you believe it? The next phase of my writing journey is nearly here. While I’ve been re-working a 50,000-word MG into a 73,000-word YA, my agent has been drafting a plan for pitching my novel to editors.
So much of this journey has been about me making my way on my own (staunch cheeleaders and allies not withstanding) that it’s a little mind-boggling to envision my agent speaking (and emailing and phoning) passionately on my manuscript’s behalf. From this point on, I have another person in my corner when it comes to my writing career.
It’s a little frightening actually. For the first time since I decided to write a novel, I’m handing the lead over to someone else. At every other point in this journey I’ve had total control. I wrote what I wanted, queried who I wanted, and accepted the agent I wanted. Every success I had was mine to celebrate, and every setback was my responsibility.
I have total faith in my agent (if I didn’t, I would have been stupid to accept her offer), and I know she’ll keep me informed throughout the process – that’s not where the fear comes from. The fear is simply about letting go and letting someone else in. Before, if I failed I had no one to be disappointed in me other than me. Now, I have someone championing my book–putting her reputation on the line by vouching for me–and I find the prospect daunting. Self-doubt creeps in and I find myself wondering how I will ever live up to expectations.
(And now I can hear my cheerleader grinding her teeth and flexing her fingers in preparation for throttling me.)
Don’t worry, I’m not going to let my self-esteem spiral into the dumpster. This is my journey (my game, my rules, right?), and I’m going to love and learn from every step along the way. I guess I’m still struggling with the idea that I’m no longer walking the road alone.