Pearls of Wisdom

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The world is your oyster* and you’re a pearl of a girl.

Thanks, Mom, for giving your daughters that little pearl of wisdom, sitting all purdy on a bed of confidence and hope. But one of your girls is a writer now, and she knows she can’t take that little gem to the bank, not without a couple of caveats, to wit:

*But you also need the love and support of family and friends, especially on those dark days when your writing chops are wallowing in the dirty glass by the sink, and your inbox is sullied from yet another ‘Dear Author’ rejection, and. . .

. . .you need great beta readers: forces of nature who won’t hesitate to irritate, cajole, nudge, inspire, and/or otherwise KICK YOUR ASS–whatever it takes to move you forward, beyond the dreaded clutches of Complacency and Mediocrity.

Because anyone can write a novel. But not everyone can write a good novel, a great novel. Not alone, anyway. You need folks who have your best interests at heart to shore you up and tell you the truth; bright, intuitive people who recognize poor practices and good writing, and who bring high levels of expertise and objectivity to the table.

By the way, the above may not be mutually exclusive.

My greatest champions for CHERRY were family members and, surprisingly, betas who became really good friends. But I’ve also had a couple of phenomenal betas who specifically told me, You don’t want me to be your friend. I’ll worry about hurting your feelings and you don’t want me to sugarcoat the truth.

Yes, I did, at the beginning of this process,, when I didn’t know diddly squat. But I sure as shit don’t want that now. Tell you what: the best beta readers may or may not be my friends–they may not even be writers–but they are bright, intuitive, pretty damned objective, insightful, great communicators, creative, and able to see the big picture.

And listening to them, considering their suggestions through my own (semi-objective) lens, has drawn CHERRY out of its shell, changed it from a good novel to something–if not of beauty–then, at least, of value.

That’s what I want, not just for CHERRY, but for everything I write.

CHERRY’s good. Good enough to have caught the attention of agents and editors alike. Good enough for one smart young agent to take a chance. I’d like to take all the credit.

No, I don’t. Because I didn’t write CHERRY by myself. I had a virtual army behind me: family, friends, and great beta readers who wouldn’t let me rest on my laurels, not for one second. Because of them, I hacked and slashed, rewrote, added chapters, moved chapters around, revised again, and yet again. . .

Irritating sometimes, sure. But sometimes, irritation is exactly what you need to get your ass in gear. You have to work out the kinks. Start over sometimes. Polish that turd until ain’t a turd no moh. Without that, I wouldn’t have a novel that’s good, maybe good enough to be published. I certainly wouldn’t have my agent.

I wouldn’t be writing today.

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8 thoughts on “Pearls of Wisdom

  1. You did do it. Yes, you have wonderful support and some sharp betas to help with the polishing, but don’t downplay your accomplishment. Your mom is right, though, you are a pearl of a girl. ❤

  2. (((((((((((hugs))))))))))))) And btw, to anybody who happens upon this little blog post: mrs fringe is one of my dearest, most trusted beta readers and also my dear and trusted friend, my early morning coffee buddy, my hero. . . I have the utmost respect and love for that woman: incredible mother, kick-ass writer, so effing interesting, so honest and. . .

    ❤ right back at you, honey.

    • Joni, that’s very kind of you to say. I shall do my best to get that sucker out there and sold. And then. . . who knows. Mom said the world is our oyster, soooo. . .

      🙂

      Thank you so much, Joni.

      xo kk

  3. Jen, yeah. Fun and smart. Sharp. Honest. FAST. His online interviews are very informative, he knows a shit-ton, as they say.

    But I still can’t believe it sometimes. One step at a time, I know. Working on that.

    But I do believe I couldn’t have made it to this step without folks who kept coming back here. Can’t buy that. My gratitude is overflowing.

    It’s headed your way, Jen. FYI: You’re gonna need a bigger boat.

    🙂

    xoxo kk

    • Ooh, I didn’t stalk him far enough to look at online interviews. Always valuable knowledge, that. But yeah, one foot in front of the other, one sentence/page at a time! ❤

      Speaking of bigger boats, did you hear about the 16 foot long Great White shark they've spotted off the coast of NJ? Her name's Mary Lee, she has her own Twitter and everything 😉

      • First, re: *my agent* Brent Taylor – I’m very fortunate, that’s for sure.
        Second, re: one step at a time: Yep. I want to do this right.
        Thoid, re: Mary Lee – I hadn’t heard of her, but I will most definitely check her out. Anything East Coast-related is of instant interest to me. Great Whites with their own Twitter Feeds? Sounds like Mary Lee is on her way!

        Now that I think about it, I know a certain agent. . .

        🙂

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