But she was not in the mood to eat, nor be cordial towards anyone, no matter how kind the gesture. She stripped down to nakedness, wrapped herself up in a large quilt and crawled upon her bed like a child, encircling herself in a cocoon of pity. Nothing could stop the shear agony that went through her heart. She felt like a fool for allowing herself to be swept up in Henry’s arms. Her emotional attraction to him was unexpected and irrational, and now she was disgusted with herself for allowing him to take advantage of those feelings.
“It was just a kiss!” She kept on repeating to herself.
Yes, it is an excerpt from, Finding Jane…because I am immersed in the editing process once again, and it is on my mind 24/7.
I have been asked to revise my story by a few people and it is a grueling, if not a learning process of becoming a writer. But how joyous is it to be able to say I am “revising” and not “rewriting. Every story, every author needs to be edited. I am just going through the process of becoming a better writer……and I am sticking to that premise!!!! But in the end, after a few interested parties in my work, I know it is a good story with promise. Or at least this is what I tell myself at 2am when I am doubting myself.
I will admit that when an agent comes back with suggestions, it is wholly exciting to think they actually like your work. But the statistics: 2% of rewrites are actually accepted. So, why do it? Because it does make you better, tell a tighter story, give purpose to your work, and humbles you. My first go around I threw words onto a page. The second time I pulled those words together to coexist as one story. The third time I fixed blatant errors….and thus it goes on. Each step gets you closer to something better, something that sets you apart from writing a story to becoming a true Writer.
I struggled for about a week with the suggestions. Honestly, there weren’t many, but they were important enough to point out. Can I fix them? Of course. Do I want to? Some. This is where your true essence, I think, is revealed. All writing can be edited, but not all needs to change. This is where you, as a writer, come through and create your voice. I am learning my voice through this process. I have grammatical errors, sentence structure problems, and repetitive words, etc. But storyline edits? Did I really want to change that? In the process of trying to work with the suggestions given, I found myself losing something about me….my voice. And that is where I had to stop and ask myself, “Who am I?”
I wrote Finding Jane for a very specific reason. I wanted to introduce 19th century literature to the 21st century reader. In this world of high speed internet and thoughts, disconnection to the person sitting next to you, and the loss of speaking to one another, I wanted a story that brought people back to humanity. The mundane of meeting someone and just finding out who they are and the art of conversation. I wanted to show that people can connect beyond the instant and find meaning in that union. Authors like Jane Austen, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the Bronte Sister are artisans at this. But let’s face it….not many are wanting to read a paragraph long sentences, in old English! I get it. But what they offer is meaningful….a beautiful way to honor people and the connections that binds us in friendships, family and love. This is what I wanted to give to the modern reader. While trying to edit my work somewhere I was losing site of myself and the meaning of the story. I didn’t want to do that. So, I stopped and reassessed the editing and made sure that my story and its meaning behind all the words, characters and the storyline were still the way I had planned.
Finding Jane is a lovely story. It is beautiful and sweet. Ok, not words that would describe a best seller! But I believe it is a best seller because it gives the reader an experience, not just words on paper. Finding Jane is a journey to another place and time, where maybe you want to linger for awhile. It has people you want to meet and talk to…not just characters. Yes, for God’s sake, it has romance and sex…..think I am stupid!!! But it isn’t about that, it is about the love that grows and you feel it…not just see it. It gives the reader a human experience inside an unreal world, not just a reading book. Isn’t that what books should do? Shouldn’t that make a best seller? I hope so.
I think I am achieving what it is that makes me unique and my writing mine…but still show that I can edit in a professional way, take suggestions and corrections to create a better “mine.” And so I continue on my journey to writing… editing to hopefully fulfill the needs of the agents interested in my work, while giving them a writer with a voice that they want to represent, and readers an author they want to read. Good news, they like my writing and the story. Now, I just have to prove I can be a writer!
What story was an experience rather than just a book you read? Let me know in the comments.