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Unexpected Gifts

You all know how much I love my editor Nancy Mercado since I babble on about her every chance I get. You may not know that these days, she’s on maternity leave with her sweet and miraculous babe.  I couldn’t be happier for her.  She gave me a thumbs up and an enormous amount of trust on her way out the door, and now, basically, I’m facing months of no editorial feedback on Book 1 of Project Next.

I have a complete draft, mind you.  This novel went through several revisions before my agent and I ever sent it to Nan on submission.  But considering that it usually takes me twelve drafts to have a real book, I still feel like I’m early in the process, and normally, I would welcome Nan’s input around this stage.

It has been startling and terrifying to discover how dependent I’ve become on Nan’s feedback.  She’s been a safety net of ideas, questions, and encouragement, and without her, there are so many ways my manuscript could go wrong. When I came back from book tour and an enforced break from my writing, my project loomed so large and intimidating that I could barely force myself to open the file.  I dreaded heading into it again, and even more, I dreaded heading into it alone, unarmed.

For us, Sandy meant six days with no power, but we had a generator for basics and wood for heat. My heart goes out to those who have been hit worse.

Then, last week, in the midst of Sandy chaos, I opened the file and gingerly tiptoed over the sill.  To my astonishment, my story sucked me in.  It pulled with needy, hungry claws, like it was starved for air, and this ornery, devious creature is now gleefully playing outside the fence.  It’s like the ground had to disintegrate beneath my feet for me to discover I have puny, scrappy wings.  I have tumbled into a wonderful place, an exploring, open-ended, creative, devil-may-care land far from the terrain I knew.  Anything goes.

Each book I write seems to require its own process, and this one apparently needs me to write wild, without my net.  How unexpected this is to me.  How scary and fascinating.  How perfect that now is the time my editor is on maternity leave.  Later, someday, the reasonable grown-up part of me will certainly resurface and look around for guidance, but for now, the brave, new, twisted, magical side of me is delving deep.

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