April 9th, 2007

What’s in a Name? Everything!

So Friday I opened up my inbox to find a note from one of my favorite editors. “Another assignment already?” I muttered incredulously. I was feeling pretty spectacular about the last assignment, which required me to watch all six “Star Wars” movies (well, that’s just a plain lie. My editor outright told me I didn’t have to watch them. But I like to play it safe) and required muchmuchmuch research. But still, she usually sends work my way about every other month--and I'd just turned the SW piece in.


But it wasn’t an assignment.

It was just a little note to tell me that the first story I ever wrote for her—which was assigned after probably my two millionth pitch to that magazine—was nominated for an award. “The Oscars of educational publishing,” she called it.


Then today I came home to spy on my Caller ID a call from the magazine. But when I listened to the voicemail, it was another editor completely. I admit it—I froze for just a second, wondering what was wrong with Rachel. But this stranger assuaged my fears: she was calling because Rachel recommended me for a story she had to assign—a full page longer than any story I’ve ever written for them (twice as long as the majority of my assignments) and a chunk of money more than they’ve ever offered before. “I really notice your stories,” the editor told me. (Would it be wrong for me to have two editors tied for favorite?) “You just have such a fun style.”


Balm to my tattered writer’s soul as I struggle with the finalfinalREALLYfinal draft of my middle-grade fantasy novel… having bypassed the “revision” stage and stumbled headfirst into the “all right, fine, now we’re just flat out rewriting” stage.


It’s not torture, I remind myself. It’s an opportunity to really make my MC suffer, to really push him to act, to really bring to life the individuals and society around him. (Yes, with me it’s all about the semantics. Opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. If I say it to myself often enough, I may even start to believe it!)  

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