When Good News is Bad News--Or is it When Bad News is Good News?

Monday, March 30, 2015

A week ago I attended a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference held at Canyon Inn (pictured above) in McCormick’s Creek State Park. SCBWI’s Indiana chapter did an excellent job planning and running the conference, which provided helpful sessions and good networking opportunities. Unfortunately, it messed up my self-imposed schedule for Desert Jewels.

Actually, I should probably say, “Fortunately, it messed up my self-imposed schedule.” That’s because what initially seems like bad news will be good news in the long run.

Two months ago, I sent in the first few pages of Desert Jewels for a manuscript critique. By the time I received the critique at the conference, I had already made significant changes to those pages based on beta reader comments, and I hoped that I was working on my last draft in incorporating those changes.

I was wrong. The critiquer had many positive comments, including that the writing is strong and engaging. But she also had some excellent points about places where the story sounded forced, especially when I was trying to show things that were unique to the Japanese American situation of that time. During our discussion, I also got some ideas for strengthening Emi's character arc, which I wasn't completely happy with, anyway. Unfortunately, this means that I have to make additional significant changes to the manuscript, which puts me off schedule. But the good news is that the book will be better as a result.

Perfection is not my goal. It isn’t possible to write a perfect story. If that’s what I were striving for, I would never submit my work. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to do the best I can.

So let’s try it one more time.

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