It was the most detailed, thoughtful critique I have ever received. The good news is she "really likes my heroine." Hearing that was especially welcome because a few months ago an agent told me she couldn't relate to my heroine at all. I made some changes to my manuscript as a result of her feedback, so maybe I am headed in the right direction.
Unfortunately, most of the rest was bad news. I mean, this author had other positive things to say about my writing. But when I look at all the critiques collectively, I see a lot that needs to be revised, some on a very basic level. In a way, this makes me sad. I identify strongly with my heroine; this is the story of my heart. On the other hand, this manuscript was my very first attempt at fiction writing; I used it to practice the most basic of fiction writing skills: setting, character, plot, point of view, scene, dialogue.
Show, don't tell. Sigh. Will I ever learn?
I am convinced at this point that the only way to get this story right is to start again from scratch. Does that mean that all these hours I have spent working on this manuscript have been wasted? Of course not. But, for now at least, I think it is time to put The Wishing Box under my bed and get busy on my next project.
Over the next three weeks, I have three books queued up to read:
Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon
Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham
I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to accomplish that on top of practicing piano duet music for performance at the October 26th Gwinnett County Music Teachers Association meeting, preparing a presentation for the Georgia Music Teachers Association State Conference on November 2nd, and living my regular, scheduled life. But I am hoping that everything I learn will make this year's NaNoWriMo project my best effort to date.
In the meantime, I am going to go ahead and submit The Wishing Box to the agent and editor I pitched to at M&M, as requested. And steel myself for rejection.
Believing that my best work is ahead of me.