Clearing The First Hurdle

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When I sent my manuscript to my editor, I made a mental list of things I’d be willing to fight for if they disappeared or were changed beyond recognition. The list is actually very short, seeing as I walked into the process determined to stay open-minded to change.

In reading chapters five through ten, I knew one of my list items was on the horizon. And it wasn’t just any list item, it was one of my favorite parts of the entire story. As soon as I saw the heading for Chapter 10, I took a deep breath and hoped my original vision was largely intact.

Chapter 10 is a turning point in the story as this is where Ian’s secret is forced out of him. He can’t hide anymore and Amanda learns the truth behind his presence in her life. This moment between them is both emotional and magical.

What makes this particular part of the story so important to me is somewhat sentimental. It’s the first conversation I ever “heard” between my main characters, Amanda and Ian. There voices chimed into my imagination with such shocking clarity, I felt more like a transcriptionist than a writer.

The question, however, was whether my editor would see it the way I do. Her changes through chapters five through nine were relatively subtle (and extremely well done) and that gave me a little boost of confidence as I jumped into Chapter 10. That being said, I still made sure I wore my thick skin before reading even a single line. Thick skin is an important wardrobe accessory for any writer reading through edits!

After the first big breath at the start of the chapter, I don’t think I exhaled until the page before Chapter 11. Then, it took every bit of control I had not to jump up out of my chair and do a happy dance. The dialogue was relatively untouched and my original vision remained totally intact. The changes she made were quiet, yet powerful in that she made what I wrote flow with a little more elegance.

Now, I can relax a bit as one huge item on my list made it through my editor’s radar. Another big list item is coming in Chapter 12 and I’m still wondering what happened to my missing 23 pages and 7,000 words! But, for now, I’ll just bask in the fact that one hurdle has been cleared.

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: So Many Dishcloths!

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My knitting needles have been very busy this summer! Not only am I working on a beautiful pair of socks and super cute pleated top, but I’m also casting on smaller projects for birthday gifts.

One of the easiest things to make for someone is a set of dishcloths or what I like to call Spa Cloths. Pair them with a beautiful bar of soap and you’ve got a thoughtful gift that is also practical.

I’ve made a total of nine Spa Cloths in the last two weeks, all of which have taught me new lace stitches. Part of the reason I love knitting spa cloths is the fact that I can learn new knitting techniques on a small project. If I make a mistake it’s not a big deal to start over again!

First up is the Baby Fern Stitch, a free pattern I found on Ravelry. It looks really difficult, but it only involves a few simple stitches. This is one I’ll have to eventually make for myself! I love the ridges that define a pattern that is both botanical and geometric.

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Baby Fern Stitch

Next up is the Leaf Lace Washcloth, which is another free pattern I found on Ravelry. Initially, I intended it as a gift, but I loved it so much I ended up keeping it for myself. What can I say, I’m a sucker for leaves.

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Leaf Lace Washcloth

After another search through Ravelry (the array of free patterns is truly astonishing), I found a pattern called Christmas Tree Lot Cloth. This is another one I really wanted to keep for myself, but it’s so perfect for the person receiving it I had to let it go!

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Christmas Tree Lot Cloth

I saved the best for last. When I saw the Elvish Leaf Dishcloth pattern, I was instantly in love. While the stitches are relatively easy, keeping track of the pattern from row to row is difficult. I have no shame in admitting I ripped this project out three times before I finally got the pattern right. The end result, however, was worth all the frustration as it is just gorgeous.

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Elvish Leaf Dishcloth

While I usually don’t wet block spa cloths, I did block both the Christmas Tree Lot and Elvish Leaf cloths to get them to lay flat for gift presentation. Lace patterns in a thick gauge tend to pucker and that doesn’t look very nice in a gift box!

The other spa cloths I made were shipped before I could get a picture (I was running a little late for early July birthdays!). If I make them again, I’ll be sure to post pics!

The simplistic nature of spa cloths is a big reason why I love them so much. When in the middle of large or difficult project, they are nice break that offers a satisfying end result. Aside from that, I love giving handmade gifts.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Digging Into Change

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It’s been a week since my editor returned my manuscript. In that time I’ve downloaded the fully edited version to my Kindle Fire and read the first five chapters. So far the process has been pretty painless, but I’m sure that’s because I let it sit unopened for two days while I prepped myself to let go of things and approach change with an open mind.

Before opening the file, I remember thinking, I hope she didn’t change the first line.  Silly, silly me. When the first page loaded, the first line was not only different, but gone!  I braced myself for the inevitable heartbreak that was sure to rip through my chest, but it never happened. For a moment, I sat there in total shock. Why? I loved the new first line. A lot.

This was a huge surprise to me because I always loved the original first line, which meant I never touched it through four drafts of revisions. That sentimental attachment was a problem, but I never saw it until someone else pointed it out! I had to say goodbye to my line, but I know my novel is better without it.

Over the next few chapters, the changes are more subtle, but still just as powerful. Small changes in word choice and grammar are helping to smooth out the way my words flow. Deletions here and there are creating a tighter sentences and paragraphs.  In some cases, I’m reading and I know things are missing, but it I don’t seem to miss them. That tells me they didn’t need to be there in the first place.

While the first chunk of this process has been easy to tackle, I know there are some big changes to come. The modified draft is 23 pages and about 7,000 words shorter than my original manuscript, which means something drastic has happened somewhere!

It’s easy to panic with those kind of numbers floating around, but all I have to remember is how much I love my new first line. It’s something I never thought I would accept, but here I am smiling. Will this happen with every major change? Probably not. There are things I’m willing to fight for if they are missing, but I’m also open to the possibility of trying a different path.

The next five chapters are on the agenda for the coming week. Hopefully, the read will be just as enlightening as the first five.

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c.b.w. 2014