Mentorship Journal – Month One
aka – Zing! Yowza! Holy crap!
The mentor process in my program involves submitting (up to) 10,000 words a month and, a week later you meet online with your mentor and discuss. The fantasy is, of course, that with your very first submission your mentor will fall in love with your project and your writing and tell you that your words are publishing-ready. That she will pat you on the back and light virtual fireworks to honour your brilliance. She’ll call her agent. Then her publisher. Then, then, then… The reality is, you know that’s not going to happen. You have problems with your manuscript. That’s why you contracted a mentor in the first place!
Yet, no matter how prepared you are for bad news, hearing your manuscript diagnosis is never easy. It doesn’t seem to matter that it all makes perfect, undeniable sense. You still hang your head for a time. You feel sorry for yourself. I imagine I’m a runner charged with delivering a message to the king and when I arrive there’s no thank you. No party. Just another message to be delivered. More work to be done.
There were no fireworks after the first submission. Just a pithy diagnosis that revealed I did indeed have problems with my manuscript. Fortunately my self-pity phase was over in a blink.
Okay, that’s a lie.
It was a whole series of sand-in-my-eye blinks that recurred over a period of days. Not because I doubted the veracity of the advice she gave me. But because it was a helluva a lot of work. There were two nifty parts about Gail’s feedback. The first was that the advice she gave me was practical. Ruthlessly, brilliantly practical.
I’m writing a YA Sci-Fi about a 17 year old girl and a teenage alien. I’d originally conceived this as a dual POV novel with my alien character being a bit of a bastard. Think misogynistic 17 year old boy with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Then Gail pointed out what should have been obvious. With a pregnant teenage protagonist, my readers will be primarily female. A female reader will not be interested in spending half their time in the creepy world of the misogynistic alien. Ergo, rethink then rewrite the manuscript entirely from the POV of the female teen.
My response to Gail’s insight was, “Zing! Yowza! Holy crap!”
The first two, the zing and the yowza were for the lovely light bulb moments that gave clarity to the POV. The holy crap was because of the work that entailed. I knew I had to begin all over again. Changing the POV meant changing the plot. That’s what took time and caused all the extra sand-in-my-eye blinks.
The second nifty part is inherent to the mentorship concept. After the initial (major) structural problem was discovered, I have another opportunity to try and correct said problem and resubmit it for further refinement. I get that everyone has a different approach to writing, based on their personality and brain-wiring, but this wannabe writer wants to have a solid sense of direction and not travel too far down the wrong road.levitra online australia
Mentorship Month One? Pretty dang good so far.