Thursday, December 3, 2009

How an Olympic performance is much like publication

Yesterday Sarcastically Delicious (aka boyfriend) and I were in the car and I was babbling as usual. S.D. is a great listener. I had a revelation earlier in the week where I realized how writing a book worthy of being published is much like becoming an olympic level figure skater.

Sure, I can skate, do more things than the average person: double salchows, double toe loops, axels, layback spins, I can even Starlight Waltz or skate the Blues on the ice. But I by no means have the grace, power, edges, spirals, spins, or the triple jumps, frankly, to be an elite skater.

Similarly, with writing I probably write better than the average joe who doesn't like to read or write for fun. But, to take it to the elite level it's going to take years. I've been skating eighteen years and I still can't do a double flip consistently. And if it takes me eighteen years to perfect the craft of writing and create something that's worthy of being published, then so be it. I write because I enjoy it.

And then as if the fates heard my words, waiting for me in my inbox when I got home was Nathan Bransford's partial critique of Product of an Illusion. Nathan posted on Monday about how to handle a manuscript critique. According to him, the critique is apparently radio active, and now that I have read it, I must distance myself from it for a few days.

Happy writing everyone!


  1. Ooo ... that's going to be interesting to see what Mr. Super Agent says about your partial.

    God knows I have to let my writing group's crits sit for a few days before I look at them. I can only imagine the time frame of waiting to look at crits from a professional who does this every day.

  2. Yikes! My fingers are crossed that it's not TOO radioactive :)

    But I like your analogy-- and I'm jealous. I always wanted to be a figure skater, sadly, I'm just not built for it (bad knees. Like, really bad).

  3. One of my basketball buddies back in college was a fairly accomplished ice-skater, but stopped once they removed the figures aspect from competition (I have a vague notion of what he meant)... since I'm like Bambi on ice, I am so impressed by your ability to perform w/ such grace and apparent ease.

    I imagine the agent critique, though possibly painful in places (though hopefully not), will be invaluable.

  4. THE Nathan Bransford? I'm excited for you. You'll surely learn a lot, no matter how good your writing is, and it is.

  5. Yay for the partial critique! I'm sure it won't be too radioactive and it will be super helpful!

    WV- Nalit. Like you're going to "nail it" with your flips and novel! :)

  6. The critique was invaluable, helpful, thought provoking.... So much so that I'm in a state of bewilderment right now.

  7. I'm looking forward to hearing more. I hope you don't have to wear lead-lined goggles to read it, but whatever he says will help make the story stronger.

    The first time someone sent me a critique of my novel if felt like a slap in the face. A few days later it read more like a kick up the backside. Today I see that it was actually a polite point in the right direction.

  8. Are you kidding!!! You're one of the most graceful people at the rink!! You make people cry at Xmas shows every year.

    I can't wait to read your email later, I'm sure the critique was very helpfull :)

    BTW- Your butt pads are lucky ones! Today we started throw triple loops and I landed three ...with Erics help, but it's a start.

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  10. Marissa- you are too kind!
    Glad the butt pads worked! They are amazing and have literally saved my ass on many an occasion. Waxel pads are the greatest inventions yet.
    Yea for throw triple loops! Loops are my nemesis.

    Thomas- all the comments were very helpful/constructive and were not insulting in any way. It's just that I have a LOT to do to make it better- and that's ok. I'm up for the challenge.

  11. You're on the downhill slope now. Although you have alot of work ahead, your manuscript will be better for it. Best of luck...hang in there.