Monday, March 21, 2011

The One

by Joan

Last week I had the unexpected pleasure of reading Julie’s manuscript (title in flux!). She asked me to read it straight through, to skip the line edit and focus on inconsistencies, on story and logic issues. As someone who is heavy-handed with the track changes feature, I worried that I’d be unable to ignore the small stuff. I printed it out, single space no less, to keep myself from marking it up too much. But as I read, I hardly had time to think about small stuff (there wasn’t any, by the way), because the story flowed so well, the characters spoke so clearly.

She said it was her first draft, but surely she was exaggerating. When I read the last lines, I cried. Not only at the beautiful ending, at the unpredictable and touching tale, but at the absolute certainty that this was the book that would get her an agent and a publishing deal.

I was so excited when I finished, I texted her right away to tell her. "OMG!! I just finished and BURST into tears! You’ve done it!" (Apparently I write a lot of !! when I’m excited).

Rather than curl up in a jealous ball as I expected I’d do (after all, I’m human, and a yet-to-be published writer), reading Julie’s manuscript-soon-to-be-book motivated me. I am dangerously close to finishing my WIP. Kim is encouraging me by keeping up with her critique as fast as I can send her pages, despite her own story aching to get out and two young children demanding her time. Sure I hope this manuscript will be “the one” for me. Even if it’s not, I have the support of a unique group of women who cheer one another on, even when others may struggle.

I am thrilled that I get to share Julie’s excitement, to be on hand for the queries, the requests, the agonizing decision to choose an agent from the many clamoring to represent her, the joy at hearing her manuscript sell at auction.

Perhaps I’m being over-dramatic, but I’m not the only one who felt this way. Three of us read her book within the last week and we all agreed. This is the one, the one that proves her dream, our dreams, are not unreachable.


  1. When I finished the novel that my agent is putting out on submission soon (eek!) I knew. My beta readers knew. I got more than one "This is the ONE" email. But it was the "inside click" that told me the truth. And it felt the same as the day I
    *really quit smoking (cold turkey no looking back)
    *shed the last unwanted baby weight (no sugar, no problem)
    *decided to forgive my parents
    *said yes to a marriage proposal

    It felt like a decision that had more power than I did. It felt like a decision made for me. A decision to take this writing thing and make it for the win. And I have no doubts it will get published.

    Now my fear is the bargain bin..... *sigh*

    Great post!

  2. Joan, thank you so much.

    Suzy, I think I struggled with self esteem issues long enough in life that I always still doubt myself the tiniest bit. I am so thankful to have critique partners who don't let me get stuck there. I love your examples here! And you must be just about to dance out of your skin while you're waiting for the submitting to begin! So exciting.

  3. Wow! Congratulations, Julie. I can't wait to hear more about your path to publication.

  4. This post made me feel all warm and fuzzy for my own writer's group, because I know exactly how you feel!

    You said it perfectly: "This is the one, the one that proves her dream, our dreams, are not unreachable."

    I've always felt my group came together for a reason, and we all have great things ahead of us, no matter who gets there first. We're all on different parts of the same journey, and it's made even better by the fact that we're in it together.

  5. Thanks Natalia! (love your name, btw, might steal it for a character!)

    I like to think there are lots of clone-WWW groups out there with the same vibe as we have.

  6. I know Julie well enough to feel her discomfort at being the center of attention. "I feel as though I'm taking up all the oxygen in the room," she wrote to me recently. But I'm going to encourage her to post about her submission adventure; now as she's currently compiling lists of agents and then as she starts querying. If anything, the energy is pushing us all to our next step. And if we all start to feel a little short on oxygen, we'll just drag around one of these:

  7. If I'm honest, I have to admit I have a love/hate relationship with being the center of attention ...

    It's fun. But it also makes me nervous. Thanks, you guys!!!!!


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