So last Friday night I met with two of my three critique group members to discuss “There With You.” Dianna mailed me her copy of the draft with notes; Jenni and Christiane each brought theirs.
Overall the reaction was positive. Well, more than just positive, really. All three love it. And none of them would say so if they didn’t mean it, so I am really happy about that.
They also all had some good ideas. I know which moments are confusing, which characters need more attention and where the story has holes. I need to go through the draft again and see where I’m going to make adjustments.
But not just yet.
I woke up the day after the meeting all panicky and hating every word I’d written. Absolutely nothing any of them said made me feel this way. They were all positive and encouraging and beyond helpful. I owe them all many more dinners.
The feedback is going to have to percolate for a little while. If I opened the file right now I’d be tempted to delete the whole thing. (I would never do it. But I’d be tempted.)
“The Artist’s Way” says that anger is normal, but call it what it is — fear. And I am freaking terrified.
It doesn’t make any sense at all. The best way I can attempt to explain it is using mythology from the book. In “There With You,” the main rule when it comes to time travel is that the past cannot be changed. If a character travels to a time before a known tragedy was going to happen, for example, he/she can’t give any kind of warning because the consequences of altering history can’t be predicted.
It’s sort of how I feel about this whole endeavor. I know how things are going to be if nothing happens. But if this thing works, I am stepping into a realm I know absolutely nothing about. I know I’m putting the cart in front of the horse, but I can’t help it. My angsty artist brain is messing with me.
I had a reprieve from this nonsense when I visited my family over the weekend. My nephew has become quite the artist, and his imagination has taken over my parents’ living room. Seeing his stuff instantly put me in a better mood.
His next project is to create a desert for Woody on the other side of the room. I can’t wait to see it. I think he might be a genius. (He gets it rightfully – my sister used to turn shoe boxes into all kinds of stuff when she was a kid. My favorite was when she made a cash register, complete with a working drawer and scanner gun.) He’s done portraits of all of his favorite super heroes. (They’re really good. I can totally tell who each one is.) He’s also written and illustrated a couple of his own books. I know of an Iron Man book, an Angry Birds book and a Cars 2 book.
Maybe I should start working in crayon.