Wednesday, November 19, 2008


There is nothing here except for a mild headache, a good deal of dust, two cranky children, one tired husband, and some withering plants.

Oh, and the copy of my manuscript that arrived back from the service offered by the Saskatchewan Writers Guild.

We're coming in from the car, it's snowing, the kids are starving for lunch and I haven't eaten since sometime yesterday because I haven't felt like a million bucks. But I dump coats on the floor, flouting Rule #22 (of thousands), and rip open the manila envelope. Which, incidentally, is not the SASE I sent with the manuscript, but whatever.

The purpose of the service is to provide the following:

An assessment of the content of the work you submit.
A summary of the strengths and weaknesses (if any) of your writing.
Advice on steps that you may take to further develop your manuscript.
A response to up to 3 specific questions that you may submit with your manuscript.
Your manuscript will be sent to a professional writer will then give you an anonymous evaluation.

Okay, so a couple of items before I tell you how it went.

1. I sent the first copy with no changes. I wrote starting June 17 and finished around the end of
August, approximately 2 months. Monday to Friday, about 4000 words a day.

2. I didn't fix much. A few typos, that was all. Nothing to do with plot, names (I had a guy named Dan and I changed his name to Will using auto edit; you have no idea how many words have "dan" in them. That was an interesting moment in time.)

I sent it off to this service because I wanted them, basically, to tell me if they thought I was on crack, to think I could write a book. I imagined the response would go something like this:

-Get a real job.

Or maybe,

-Um, no.

In the interim, while I waited the almost unbearable 6 weeks, 2 people read it and liked it. Gave excellent suggestions and well-thought and useful feedback. But see, these are my friends. And they will like it no matter what, I sometimes think, because they are just amazed to see me do anything at all.

Anyways, I digress. So I got it back today. And you know what? They liked it! They said with a rewrite it would be ready for publishing. I've already done the brunt of the work, because the suggestions from friends were aligned with what anonymous reader said. And bottom line, they liked it. Liked the dialogue, the flow, the plot. My writing!

Right on!


Jen said...

Very very exciting! Good for you.

Just curious- who is your naturopath? There are a few great ones in the city. We are fortunate to have so many compared to other centres.

Tyler said...

Congratulations! That is great news. I'm super happy for you and you've inspired me to get my writing act together (I've had a tough time getting back into it since my hard drive imploded a few weeks ago and I lost EVERYTHING!)

Your new Calgary friend said...

Congratulations. You are a great writer and you deserve it. You have to believe in a little bit of Karma. Positive out, positive response.

Jonathan said...

Right On, You rock!

spinregina said...

Jen: I go to Julie Zepp. And you?

Tyler: I learned a hard lesson the day that I went to save my file and errors came back telling me the file was corrupt. I now save it on a separate hard drive, a little 2G thing, and on the hard drive. I also email it randomly to my husband to save on his work server. I really wanted an apple laptop, and then the time capsule, (auto backs everything up) but I am poor.

new Calgary friend: kay, for sure you can stay if you keep saying nice things like that!

Jonathan: so happy lately. something in the air maybe???

beth said...

Wow...thanks for recommending this service...I might invest in it, too.

RMW said...

You are brilliant, of course they loved it. I am happy you are smiling...

Jen said...

I go to Dr. Zepp too. I adore her. :) My appointment is at 3:30 today - maybe we'll see each other there.

lotusloq said...

Congratulations! I knew you wouldn't have any trouble finding people who love your writing since that is what brought me to your blog and keeps me coming back for more. You have real talent.

What a great reason for smiling!

spinregina said...

Beth: Welcome! I will be checking out your site. I highly recommend this service (or one like it). Our guild is a membership based organization, check out the link. I think that makes it quite "legit," I have heard horror stories about "editing" services and the like, I'm sure you have too.

Jen, this is crazy. I didn't see your post till tonight. I was at Julie's until 3:17 p.m. today. (aside: isn't she LOVELY?) I hope you didn't step in the sticky juice Soph spilled all over her floors.

Lotus, as always, you are sweet. Thank-you, it means a lot to me, your opinion.

tasha said...

Im so proud of you! I cant wait to see your book in real life. Your an amazing person and you earned this happiness. Keep it up. (if you need book cover ideas, im really creative.) :) I hope to see you at the TP winter concert. Im doing the slide show.