Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Home sweet home

I got home on the 18th after a long train ride from Vermont.  I was so happy to be home with my family, but I truly missed all the friends I made at school.  I never expected to develop such strong connections with so many people-people who are going through the same thing I am.  No one here quite understands my life right now, but my Vermont friends get it.  

On the 16th, the first 20 pages of my middle grade novel was workshopped.  I was terrified that someone would say, "Oops, now we see that you don't belong here.  You aren't good enough yet.  Come back in a few years."  But no one did.  In fact, I got many compliments on the novel, and lots of helpful feedback.  The common thread in all the critiques was that it was ambitious, and complex, and that I had taken on a big task for myself.  That kind of freaked me out.  But the novel is finished, and no loose ends were left hanging.  So I guess it's not too bad.  I gave the entire novel to Sarah Ellis to read, and she'll give me some feedback on it with her response to my first packet.  Which is due on August 13th.  OMG!  

I am focusing this packet on the picture book.  I've written a couple first drafts  so far-I intend to turn in 4 or 5 picture books with this packet, an annotated bibliography of about 20 books (mostly pb's), and 2 critical essays whose topics will be something to do with picture books also.  I'm feeling pretty confident about the rest of the packet-but those essays are stressing me out.   I'm beginning to think that maybe picture books are not my thing.  They are really hard to write well!!


PJ Hoover said...

I think so many writers have that exact same feeling. Like they don't belong or are not worthy. But knowing that others feel the same way is relieving and refreshing to me.
Glad you're back! Have fun with the PBs.

Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor said...

Terrific news about the novel, Dawn! I hope you get a chance to work on revisions with Sarah. I imagine she'll be great to work with.

I miss you terribly!


Sheri said...

Welcome home Dawn!

I know I have had that same feeling too, like I am faking it and someone somewhere will point a steady finger in my face and yell, "Imposter!"

But of course we are not imposters and you are most definitely the real thing.

PB ARE hard to write! To tell and entire story with the MC solving the problem on his/her own all in about 250 words (depending on the publisher) is a serious challenge. Plus you have to not say things that can be said in the illustrations.... I dabble at trying to write PB to broaden my portfolio and range as a writer, but I know in my heart I am an novelist through and through.

david elzey said...

re-entry was tough after my first rez back in january. i hadn't realized how difficult it wound up being on my family, my wife in particular feeling both abandoned and left out b/c i was suddenly incommunicado. she felt better prepared this time around, and i did a better job of keeping her posted via phone and email throughout. next summer during rez she's planning on having our kids off in camp at the same time so she can take a trip to CA to see her sister.

the displacement between the writer, the retreat, and the world is one of those bi-products of the program. not so much in a "get used to it" sort of way, more like "this is what it means to be a writer, and here at least you have a support group." i can't imagine what going into publishing would be like if i had to do it cold, building up this support and fellowship from scratch.

the first packet is always the hardest until it's sent - then you'll wonder why you thought it was so hard. good luck!

Janet Fox said...

Hey Dawn! I hope the work is coming smoothly.

I know you're about to head for the beach, but enjoying your posts and I hope you can do more while on vacation.

I, too, have been struggling with these PBs, but (like exercise) I know it's good for me. I hope you'll share yours at the next rez -