Do The Lambs Still Scream, Clarice?

I turned my novel into an editor on Friday.

I tried to find a photo that would convey shear terror and elation at the same time. Like a girl, mouth wide open with a scream, covered in blood, but also in a tutu, twirling and dancing.

Couldn’t find it.

On one hand, the tremendous work of revising and editing just to get it ready for this stage is finally OVER. I’m free now to catch up on what I had let go. Turns out the shit hits the fan around here without me. It took me ALL WEEKEND to catch up on Mount Laundry, the frat house my upstairs had become, dishes, bathrooms….UGH. And the house being up to par only frees me up for the endless list of other things I need to catch up on: that oil change, and those bills with their pesky due dates. But now I can tackle it; that’s the good news.

On the other hand, every time I remember there’s someone reading my novel I want to spit up a little. Yes, people have read it before, but they weren’t professionals, whose aim it is to find problems.

What if she hates it?

What if she tells me it’s shit?

What if it comes back so riddled in red marks I’ll never see my way out of it?

What if she doesn’t love my characters like I do?

will this excruciating fear ever end?

I wonder if authors always feel this way, or do you finally get to a point of confidence in your work? Does Stephen King write The End and think I just shit gold!

I try, I try to quell the scary thoughts and replace them with positive ones: What if she loves it? What if she has great suggestions I can’t wait to implement? What if everything’s going to be just fine did you ever consider that you masochistic nut-job?

Last night I was on the computer. My husband came in and – seeing the expression on my face – asked if I was looking at a murder scene.

Kinda. I was on a website about formatting your novel for ebook. *gulp* Seems really overwhelming. I had to take a few deep breaths and remember the words I’ve been telling myself during this whole journey — the same ones I told myself in an earlier post, Hold My Hand Until I Can Fake It , Please : I need to just take things in baby steps, and know that there are amazing, supportive communities of writers out there to help me through these processes.

I just need to reach out and ask for it. Breathe in, Breathe out.

children-holding-hands-26131189

Writers/Authors: Do you still die inside when others are editing your work? What is the best advice you could give me on self-pubbing? Or the best place you would send me for resources?

Anyone: To show you how much I appreciate you reading all the way to this point, I give you this. Don’t say I never gave you anything.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

36 comments

  1. Uhhhhh wow, I think you should’ve linked to that gift AFTER you got people to leave you comments…

    …cos I had a comment all lined up…

    …truly…

    …but I couldn’t possibly begin to put into words whatever it was…

    …because I clicked on your gift…

    …and now I can’t remember.

    At all.

    I…euhhh…I may be back later…

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  2. Such a sly one you are with the gift. The name of the page cracks me up.
    I’m glad you got through this step. It has to be nerve-wracking for anyone. (Even the King. He has added pressure of expectations.) Good luck getting all the neglected crap done. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Christine! I hope you enjoy the gift. I just wanted to send a little love, and THAT’S WHAT I WOULD WANT FROM YOU. Oh, I didn’t mean to go all-caps. OR DID I?
      You make a very good point, though. The *successful* authors do have the pressure of expectation!
      Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂

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    2. By eye candy, are you referring to your “husband’s” miraculously maintained physique? If so, then yes. Yes you did, and I enjoyed it verrrrry much. If you’re talking about something else that I somehow missed….point me to it immediately cuz I’ve seen all your lists and I don’t recall any other candy?!?

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  3. I think it is great that you are publishing a novel. Here is my thoughts on critics, who cares? I have seen movies and read books that so called experts have panned and I loved them. I have seen movies and read books that had grand reviews and thought “what a waste of time”. I try not to criticize anyone’s work since I haven’t done it, where do I get off on criticizing? People will either like it or not, and if not, who cares, maybe it wasn’t their cup of tea. Do what you love and damn anybody who doesn’t like it. Good luck!!

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  4. Hi, Beth! Congratulations! I have a habit of imagining the worst reactions from people but then I think, what’s the worst they can do to me? If all they say “nope, don’t like it,” then it doesn’t change anything. You’re still a writer and that’s awesome.

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  5. I am so glad your book is going to an editor because it’s one step closer to me getting to read it! Everyone’s taste is so different that some will like it, and some will not. I have no idea how the whole editing process works, but if you feel this editor isn’t in sync with you, then find another one. But, while you are waiting, you should reward yourself with getting a one-time deep clean from a house cleaning service. It is so nice!!!! Loved the “gift” too 🙂

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    1. I like how you think! I do need to get someone to do a big once-over on the house. That would be heaven. Thanks for your encouragement, Ashley. Seriously helps a ton! You’re so right.

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  6. Uh, yes. I die a little inside each time someone reads my writing and finds an error. But then I put on my big-girl pants and get over it really quickly, because the next error is just around the corner! lol. No seriously, good luck! I’ve often felt the same way. And sending in a book is like sending your child in to be eviscerated…

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    1. That’s sort of how I feel…I sent my baby away and I’m just hoping it’s treated with love and care! UGH. So hard. But seriously writing this post has helped SO much. Writing about the anxiety kind of exorcises it, and then I have all these wonderful people with their supportive words….helping me build my confidence back up….it’s the absolute best….

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  7. about the gift… lol (man! the world is so unfair, I feel so… tawdry, I’ll have you know that we have a lot more than abs and such… we have personalities too!)

    congrats (to be at this stage of the process that many of us are still dreaming of) and good luck with the next stages

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  8. First of all, that’s a great title! Second, I think Stephen King seems like the kinda guy who says to himself “I just shit gold”. Haha And oh girl, how I relate to the mountain of laundry and the frat house. I’ve had weeks of busy blogging where I sort of let things go a bit and holy cannoli Batman, does it pile up. All that said, I’m rooting for you. That’s so great that you finished and edited your novel and you put it out there and I have a feeling from reading your excellent writing that good things are going to happen for you.

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    1. Trust me, everyone will be updated! I can’t help but word-vomit my life. Thank you so much for reading. You have a really pretty name. But I’m sure you hear that all the time. 🙂

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  9. Congratulations on getting your novel to the editing stage. So many people start and never get that far.

    When I had my first novel edited I felt the same way. I was sick with worry about it. I’ve written several more since and I’ve pretty much changed my attitude. I had to to avoid getting an ulcer. If people find holes in the plot or mistakes and point them out to me, it just gives me a chance to make it better. I want to make the best book possible, and to do so I need all the help I can get.

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    1. Thank you!! You’re absolutely right – it’s all for the benefit of the story. Congrats on all your books, too! I kind of see authors as rock stars. 🙂 and of course, any writer (published or not) is a soul mate.

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  10. Congratulations!

    The only editors that read my stuff work for the Huffpo and the Good Men Project. That editing is light and it is just a post length. I did however take a memoir writing class and offered up a longer essay. One word: Excruciating. The whole class critiques your work. Once you learn not to take it personally, you learn. Best of luck to you!

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    1. I can’t imagine a class full of people tearing apart my work – ugh! But I’m sure it was a huge learning experience. I think the MOST important thing is to not take it personal. Period. I have to understand that any feedback is for the good of the story. Thank for reading!

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  11. I think it’s awesome that you finished and submitted it. High five for getting to that point because that, in itself, is HUGE! Now take a well-deserved break then get out there and write something else. 🙂

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    1. Aw, thanks Suzanne! I do feel a sense of accomplishment, but I still have another mountain to climb (re-edit and publish)! But first – a breather! Yes.

      Thanks so much for reading!

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  12. HAHAHA I like your gift! Yummy! Hey, I am so excited for you on writing a book. That’s so awesome. A friend of mine just published through Lightning Source—it was a lot of work but she made it through. She said if she could muddle through it, anyone can. Just start asking others on all the writer’s sites how they did it and I’m sure you will get lots of tips!

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    1. he he he so glad you enjoyed your gift. 😉
      I’ve heard good things about Lightening Source! That makes me feel even better to know you have a friend who was able to publish with them. Yeah, I plan to bug the bejesus outta other writers on this one cuz I’m as green as they get!
      Thank you!!

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  13. I don’t think anybody could even draw your tutu-wearing screaming scared girl and do her justice but GO YOU for submitting! Awesome stuff and I’m pretty sure you did shit gold, er, write it anyway. Congratulations. Big huge stuff.

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    1. yeah, that would be one twisted picture! Kind of like Carrie….doing ballet. *shudder*
      Thank you TONS for the kudos. Don’t know if I shit gold, but I shit something worth while, and hopefully my editor will help me find the gold in it. That’s their job, right? 🙂
      Thank you for reading….you’re awesome!

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  14. Congrats on publishing a novel! One day I want to do that but just need to find the time to start one. I have so many ideas in my head. I’m sure yours will rock!

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    1. Aw, that’s so sweet of you to say that. Thank you. 🙂

      You’re a very gifted writer so if you ever get the urge you should definitely do it! Get those ideas on paper/computer! You never know…..

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  15. The feedback process is amazing! If it weren’t for great critique partners and writing groups I don’t know what I would do. I just always keep in mind an aspect of a story needs attention if at least two people not the same thing. That’s why it’s important to get a variety of feedback. Good luck.

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