Thursday, April 5, 2012

Feedback FTW / Enlightened by Edna

I had another one of those Lost Days yesterday: I got home from class fully intending to work for a little while, and then knock out the last revision of the [non-]horror novel, and then go back to working, meeting my responsibilities for the day with some time to spare. But it didn't work out that way. I didn't do any paid work at all, in fact; I revised for most of the day, into the evening.

Although I have a far better handle on my work schedule now than I did in, say, February, I am still trying to figure out how to make it more intuitive, more like something that I just do without thinking about it, the way I just got up and went to work and then got up and went home when I had a day job. The situation is so loose that I don't feel like holding myself to a specific schedule is necessary - nor do I think it's really the way in which to get the best work out of myself.

In any case, after yesterday's edit, I am through with actively revising for the moment. The book is starting to all blur together and not be new anymore, so I'm going to take notes on the feedback I get from here on and wait a month or two to implement it. I have been getting a LOT more discussion and feedback from readers on this book than I did on the Greenland book, which is either a good sign (because I wrote a more interesting book) or a good sign (because I was clearer with my readers). It's lovely to hear from so many people, especially the unexpected or critical feedback. Keep it coming, folks.

This weekend I have to get down to business on the promo materials I'll take with me to Colorado - synopsis, elevator pitch. I thought I might draft a query letter, too, while I'm at it. Matt gave me a terrific opening for it, so I think it'll be a bit easier than other queries I've written. Since I need to update my website, too, I've got to put together a synopsis and blurb for the Greenland book, which I find a dreadful prospect. I always find that I have either one sentence or three pages to say about that book, because it's so weird and straddles a few different things.

I'm almost finished with a book of Edna O'Brien short stories. The first book of hers I read was The Light of Evening, which is on my Special Shelf. I was utterly bowled over, and very nearly decided to stop writing altogether after I read it. I was overwhelmed by how not as good as her I would always be - how very minuscule and worthless my talent was compared to hers. (The reason I changed my mind is an entirely other post.) Then I read In the Forest, and I was sort of...disappointed. It was a great book, beautiful and vague in sort of the same way, but not a totally Other experience the way Evening had been. I thought, okay, well, she had an off (ish) book. I'll try again another time. So I got this book of short stories, and now that I'm all but two finished with it, I'm feeling the same sort of way: but...but...this was supposed to be otherworldly! It was supposed to knock me flat! And this is just...highly accomplished. It's still fiction I could never write, it just doesn't seem like it came from the pen of God, as Evening did.

I don't know what's up with this, whether maybe it's me, but I partly wish I hadn't started on her oeuvre with Evening, hadn't gotten my expectations so worked up. I'm going to keep trying - I just requested the Country Girls trilogy from the library, the books that got Ireland's panties in a bunch when they were published in the 60s - but I'm going to lower my expectations a bit.

Also, read The Light of Evening. You will never be the same.

No comments: