Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Home Stretch (well, of writing at least)

Michelle and I finally have a complete draft!  The book is approximately 80,000 words (the sweet spot for Young Adult), and 26 chapters, plus a prologue.  I'm very happy about this, of course, but I must say that I don't feel near the excitement that (1) I think I should feel, and (2) I thought I would feel.  The feeling is rather anemic, really.  I think part of it is that Michelle isn't here yet (she'll be in Pennsylvania in 5 days), and also partly that having a draft isn't really any sort of end point.  Right now I am editing furiously so that we can have our first full draft "completed" by June 16th.  Obviously that's only two weeks away.  We need to have the draft done by then so that we can distribute it to the members of what we are fashioning our "First Read Book Club".  (Basically people we've asked to read the book to give us feedback.)

That is what I'm really looking forward to.  Printing off entire drafts and mailing them to people will really feel like we've done something.  Right now I just have 27 separate files for the different chapters.  Incorporating them all into one document and printing that out for people to read, now that'll be something.  I feel like I should be anxious about people's reactions once they read it, but right now I'm not terribly nervous.  I expect constructive criticism (in fact, I hope for some), and I don't expect that anyone will hate the book.  It would be nice for at least a few of the readers to really like it (there will be seven people reading the book including my husband, my mother, and my brother), but honestly, even if people only think the book is "cute" I know how I feel about the book, and I don't know how much other people's opinions will change that.  I mean, obviously I need to take criticism and analyze it, and the whole point of having people read it is to see where we can make improvements, but no reaction could convince me that our book isn't great.

It's like this.  While I was at Villanova for the semester in 2005 (due to Katrina), Michelle and I saw an HBO Comedy special with this weird New Zealand duo.  We both thought it was the funniest thing we'd ever seen.  We watched it over and over again.  When I got back to New Orleans, I showed it to Justin, and he also thought it was funny.  He was nice enough to find a recording online, and he made me a DVD of it for me.  For the next few weeks, I told all my friends about how hilarious this comedy duo was and how they just had to see this HBO special.  Finally, one night all of my roommates at the time (including Max) sat down to watch it with me.  I died laughing the entire time, while my roommates looked at me like I was mentally challenged.  No one thought it was funny at all.  It got me thinking that maybe I was a little crazy, although I knew that I still loved them.  Michelle even emailed one of the members of the duo, and he corresponded with her briefly.

Do you know who this comedy duo was?  Flight of the Conchords.  They're super popular now with their own HBO show that is primarily based off of that comedy special.  Max (who didn't think they were funny at all back in 2005) took me to see them for my birthday two years ago, and it amazed me to see the thousand or so people at the sold-out show who all loved them.  It just goes to show that you shouldn't allow your fate to be decided by one hostile focus group.

The thing that I've been so amazed about throughout this whole process is just how confident I am in what we're doing.  I'm never this confident, but I really love our book.  Not like, "I really loved The Help" (which I did, that book is amazing -- in fact, if you haven't read it, stop reading this right now and go out and buy it).  More like "I love my child.  It's a lot of work, and sometimes it pees on me, but I really really love it."  I guess there is a small part of me deep down that is quietly asking, "But what if I'm one of those people who has a monstrously ugly baby, but is convinced their snot monster is the cutest thing in the world?"  I guess that's just a risk I'm willing to take.

No comments:

Post a Comment