Monday, September 03, 2007

The Wait Over

Yesterday was a funny sort of day. You don't expect post on a Sunday. Well, I received my NWS report back yesterday thanks to my plumber - yes, my plumber. I took my eldest to the pub for a chat about life and many of our neighbors were there so it was quite jolly. No conversation with eldest but lots of laughs. Then in walks Simon ,our plumber, a really nice chap. In conversation he remarks that he has some post for us. After questioning I ascertain that he in fact has my NWS report and had had it since Thursday! You may ask why he has our post. He lives in a house with the same name as ours but his house is out on a farm about two miles away. So once he finished his drink I left mine on the bar and chased after him the car to retrieve my post.

Hands shaking I returned and raced into the house and tore open the envelope. I thought do I read this now or wait until after I have that glass of wine promised me by the neighbors. I sat and read. My heart fell. The report was lovely and kind but many of the things it picked up on were things that I had changed in the course of several revisions. I put the report down went back to the pub had that waiting large glass of wine and tried to be social.

I rolled back home and sat and reread the report. It was a very thoughtful and kind report but none-the-less I felt the tears pouring down my face. I wondered if I was really cut out to be a writer. You see and many may be aware by the frequent spelling errors - like my son I'm dyslexic too. I can't see spelling errors and many others for love nor money. Yes, I know I have degree in English Lit but ....... So the manuscript had many careless errors in it. I knew they weren't careless as such for I had taken care myself but time constraints meant that it didn't run past anyone else's eyes before it was sent.

So the tears continued. The kids were wonderful and kind which made me cry more. Finally the middle son pushed me into the bath with a book and I lost myself in murder (thank you Lesley). I emerged and reread the report. It was a good report and a kind report. The book wasn't crap but in the state it was in it wasn't worth a second read ( the goal of all NWS submissions). However my lovely reader commented that she would request that if I cleared it up she would ask if the second read would happen.......then the tears hit again. Right now I haven't much time. I sat by the puter feeling bloody sorry for myself and then went through the script and bless her cotton socks she marked up many of the errors on the script plus left lovely little comments. My reader took her job very seriously. I then reread the report and went to bed.

Now the sun is shining this morning and there is much work to do but I realize that everything my reader said is easily addressed - the errors although annoying don't ultimately change the story so maybe I can write and this is just another part of the learning curve. However I am still left that with the feeling that I let my reader down and myself by my mistakes however I have to step and say to myself - since March of this year my life has been upside down. Since March I have rewritten August Rock three times and during that time I didn't know where we were going for much of it. My husband made life altering decisions, we left London and now we are about to embark on the next phase of this journey. So maybe I couldn't have done any better this time ..............


ChrisH said...

Oh Liz, you are being far too harsh on yourself. Please, please dry those tears and tell yourself how much you've achieved this year.

I was stunned when my NWS submission was returned within a couple of days as it had already been to HJ, who enjoyed it, and the agent who's requested a rewrite. I'm still not exactly thrilled about it but, looking carefully, the points that my reader raised are similar to the reasons why the agent rejected it initially.

Most people in your shoes wouldn't have been able to produce a single word. You've already proved you are a writer and your reader has offered you a second chance so all is far from bleak. You said it yourself - just keep writing.

Good luck with the move.

liz fenwick said...

Thanks Chris :-)

Biddy said...

Sweetie - I know how emotional getting the report back can be. But the reader is interested in offering it a second chance... that doesn't happen very often! So there must be things in your manuscript that make her think that.

Also you have been through turmoil these last few months and continued writing... please give yourself a break.

Big hugs and take some more time to think about it all. The fact the reader has marked up the manuscript is also very positive.

Good luck and I wish I could pour a huge glass of wine for you.

Jessica Raymond said...


You're right, you've had so much going on this year. That you've managed to get so much hard work done on AUGUST ROCK is testament to how committed you are to your writing.

It's a celebration that your NWS reader thinks AG could have a second read when it's had a little freshening, so keep remembering that. You are one of the most hardest-working writers I know and your efforts WILL pay off :)

Jess x

Leatherdykeuk said...

None would go to the trouble if ot only sending you a giod report but highlighting errors if your work was unreadable. I know you're busy with the move, but I can't not see this as positive encouragement.


Michelle Styles said...

Hugs Liz.

Now, are the remarks about copy editing errors or the story?

Editors buy stories and voices. If that story really grabs the editor, she will buy it.

Although one tries very hard to get the spelling errors correct (and I do use word spell checker), there are times when it is impossbile to see such things. It is far better to read the story aloud and see if the prose flows.

And I will disagree with you -- the goal of the NWS report is to give some insight into getting published.

Getting a NWS report back doesn't mean it will never sell. For goodness sake, my NWS report told me that HM&B would NEVER EVER buy a Roman set historical...

liz fenwick said...

Thanks Biddy I will pour myself one tonight on your behalf ;-)

Jess you are too kind!

thanks rachel :-)

Hi Michelle, the report points out errors that are fixable and plus the spelling and commas.....I take your point about an insight into publishing. That fact your are on your what number book gives one hope too. thanks.

Flowerpot said...

It sounds like an excellent report Liz - you're beig far too harsh on yourself. She said it will go for a second read when you;ve changed a few things. That sounds terrific - give yourself a bat on the back and pouryourself a large one. Take care. I'm still waiting for mine so know justhow you feel.

liz fenwick said...

Flowerpot the wait is terrible but the report are good :-)

JJ said...

I'm sorry you feel devastated. But while I can't comment particularly on the report and ms, what I can comment on is the turmoil you've lived through these last few months. And if the report triggered tears, m'dear, you really needed to shed them!

It doesn't sound nearly as bad as you first thought.

Take care

NoviceNovelist said...

Liz, I love visiting your blog because you always inspire me - not least because of your dedication to all aspects of your busy life - you have done brillantly this year to write as much as you have with all the upheaval you have been going through - if that doesn't make you a writer I don't know what does!!!!

Tears and a glass of wine sound very cathartic and the report sounds positive down at bare bones level. You hang in there Liz and don't be to hard on yourself!!! XX

Lane said...

Liz this report sounds positive on many levels. The mistakes are fixable and a second reading has been offered. You've crashed, now don't burn. It's sounds like you've had a lot of upheaval so congratulations on even getting this far.
Once you've got the move over with, you can get stuck in again.
Onwards and upwards:))

Jen said...

Hey, Busy Lizzie, you've done brilliantly to write at all! The comment aren't negative, the story will go further when you've tightened up the wibbly bits.

I used to work as a proofreader - would be only too happy to go through August Rock and sort out typos and whatnot while you're settling into your new life? It doesn't sound as if the story is bad at all.


B.E. Sanderson said...

Everyone's already said the important stuff, so I'll just say...


Hang in there, sweetie.

Sally Lawton said...

My punctuation is terrible, I'm not dyslexic - but did all of my schooling in Welsh and it totally messed me up when we moved back to England!
In fact my agent asked me to revise my ms and look out for apostophies in particular. I bought books on the subject just to get it right, and her colleague just read the revised ms, which I slaved over and asked me to watch out for my apostrophies!!

Don't give up Liz. A good story will sell - spelling and mistakes can be fixed.
You should be proud of yourself.
Big hugs xx

sheepish said...

Whatever you do don't give up. I am sure you are tired emotionally from everything that has been happenning to you recently, so get your move over with then look at your ms with fresh eyes and a calm mind.

Nell said...

Hugs, it's the story that matters. Typo's and grammar errors are fixable. I know how hard it is when you have a problem that means you really can't see the faults. My numbers issue has me on the back foot many times. You can do this, it's taking you a step closer to publication so give yourself a big pat on the back. The offer of a second read is superb!

liz fenwick said...

All I can say is wow and thanks for all the support. it really helps. I won't throw in the towel!

Helen said...

Hi Liz, sorry not to have visited your blog until now when things are so difficult for you (today has been a busy child day!). I can't really add to any of the kind words that have been written here, but just agree with them and say if there is anything I can do, like Jen says, in helping with proofing before you send it out then please let me know. x

P.S Thanks for the reminder about Friday. As this and next week is going to be a bit 'emotional' I thought I'd write the coffee morning on my calendar to remind me!

Julie Cohen said...

What everyone has said is true. It's very easy to see only the negative in a report like this but I'm glad you have reread it several times and seen the positive aspects, too. Taking criticism is really hard, especially if it's for something you feel you could have made perfect with more time, or on choices you thought you were making for the best. But I think you're coping with it really well and that's a necessary skill to be a published writer. I have not yet sold a book without revisions! Never!

Don't forget that this is one person's opinion, and as everyone has said, you've shown you're a true writer by keeping at it through difficulties. Also, don't forget that (aside from the technical things), how you change problems is YOUR choice.

I didn't get a second read on the novel that became my first sale to M&B--instead I got a LOT of suggestions, some of which I followed, and eventually (with rewrites) it sold. Leave it for a little while (as if you have a choice) and the advice will be easier to take in perspective.

Hugs to you!

Phillipa said...

Liz - You are a wonderful person and you must never even think about giving up writing.

I've said this before but I got a pasting from my NWS reader, partly for typing errors. Was I embarrassed? Er.. not as much as i ought to have been because what mattered was she liked the story and writing. I was encouraged by that so much and you know what happened next and it can and will happen to you.

Story and characters count: you can always get a proof reader or copy ed to do the laundry if you need to. And I hear that one best selling thriller writer is almost incomprehensible before the copy ed gets in there... you are highly literate.

You also lead such a full and rich life: I envy you. What experiences you have to draw on.

Btw have you thought of publishing your wonderful blog which is full of warmth and emotion?: )

liz fenwick said...

Julie and Phillipa thank you for your thoughts and sharing your experiences. I will revisit August Rock in Dubai and find the help necessary to fix the problems:-)

Publish my blog? That's a frightening thought but could be interesting Phillipa :-)

Anonymous said...

Deep Breath, hold, exhale. Repeat. One more time. Now file the report away someplace where you will be able to file other disappointments (mine is actually quite thick). Now right next to this file will be a smaller one where your acceptances will go, smaller yes, but completely able to wipe out the hurt and disappointments contained in that larger file. You are neither a horrible writer or alone.

I too received bad news this weekend. I let myself feel bad for a couple of minutes, filed it away, and then I reminded myself: It's only that God has something else planned.

Jan Jones said...

Liz, hon, Stage by Stage didn't get a second read either - and that won the Joan Hessayon in 2005. I'd agree with Michelle - the goal of the NWS is to make your book better.

Cathy said...

Liz, sorry I am coming to this post rather late. I can only echo what others have said. Don't be hard on yourself. I too have been trying to write during a very difficult year and have found it almost impossible. You have done so well to finish a novel at all. There is still time to polish it up, you have friends here willing to read it ( I would offer my services there too, if needed in the future). My son has dyslexia, I know how difficult it can be to spot your own typos and errors.

Take a deep breath, give yourself time to settle in Dubai and come back to it with fresh eyes.