For those of you who follow or have followed this blog with some regularity, I’m sure you’re wondering why there have been very few mentions of Positively Anonymous in the last few months. I talked about the story a ton back in February and March, in part because I was under the impression that I was almost ready to query. And then, once I became a member of a regular critique group, because I thought that the majority of the editing I had left to do was minor.
Spoiler alert: I was wrong.
It’s never a fun thing to realize you aren’t nearly as far along on a manuscript as you thought, especially when time constraints of one kind or another have led to four or five different drafts in just under two years. And it removes a lot of the enjoyment from a project when people whose work you love and whose opinions you’ve grown to respect tell you that there’s still a reasonable amount of work to do.
And yet, there’s something refreshing about the constant feedback I’ve been getting on Positively Anonymous. Even though I have to straighten my spine before diving into each new set of comments, it has been fascinating to watch other writers suggest ways to improve my story that I–in all my haste–might never have thought of. For every note that makes me cringe because the person who made it was 100% correct, and how could I have sent out a drift with that issue, and oh my God, I suck, there are others that alight my imagination with all these new possibilities.
Listing all the things that need to be fixed, or adjusted, or tweaked sends my mind in all these directions I wouldn’t have given a second thought to when I began. No matter how many pages I fill with critique notes in one of my journals, one thing never changes. I always come away from those sessions ready to get to work.
That’s the positive thing about delayed plans, the thing that no one ever mentions. With the anxious anticipation of preparing to query completely off my radar for the time being, I no longer worry about rushing the story. I’m much more content to get a whole manuscript worth of feedback, develop ideas to make Positively Anonymous more engrossing, and take my time with what will hopefully be the final round of edits before I start sending it out.
I’m not going to make the same mistake I made with The Recruited. This time, I’m going to sit on my hands for as long as it takes to whip this story into the absolute best shape I can.
Now that I have a whole host of awesome writers to brainstorm with, I’m actually looking forward to that process!