As luck would have it, I sent the story to my publisher and it was assigned to a newly acquired editor who loved it—bless her heart. However, once she sent in a contract request to her Sr. Editor, the manuscript was returned to me with a request for revisions. No big surprise now that I’ve become privy to the myriad rules governing the elusive craft of writing.
I glomed onto my editor’s advice, rewrote and resubmitted the story, thinking a contract offer was just around the corner. The submission was sent back for more revisions, so I dove in again, rewrote and resubmitted…only to have it returned to me a third time. Still too long. Still not enough focus. Still too much extra fluff that needed to come out.
To be honest, I’ve lost track of how many times I rewrote and resubmitted this one (I’m guessing five or six times), and would have probably given up and stuck the story in a file on my hard drive had it not been for the unwavering support and belief of my editor. She truly championed this story…sometimes even more than me.
But this post isn’t about the dogged perseverance any new author must exemplify once they’ve decided to dive headfirst into the bottomless chasm of publishing. It’s about what happened to me during those five years.
Throughout all this, the characters in She’s Got Dibs were with me. Whenever I needed an escape from reality they were there, patiently waiting for me to bring them into sharper focus, deepen their commitment or write a snappy line of dialogue. They became good friends of mine. I began to think of them as real people, with real issues, fighting their way through to their happily ever after.
So while the goal of each author is to take those folks we spend our time creating and send them out into the world for others to enjoy, and I can admit a huge sense of satisfaction and relief accompanied my hitting the SEND button, I also must confess …I am deeply saddened to see these folks go on their merry way. After accepting the last of my editor’s requested changes, I got in the bathtub...and sobbed. Like…sobbed. Then I spent the remainder of the day walking around in a fog.
While I know that, yes, the only true way to get over this leave-taking is to craft another story—and I have been doing just that—I also have to wonder. Just how crazy am I? Is it time I called my physician and begged for Prozac? Perhaps I should forgo pharmaceuticals entirely and proceed (do not pass go, do not collect $200) to the nearest mental healthcare facility? Am I the only writer out there who undergoes a grieving process at the completion of a story? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.