The Makings of a Good Day

Now, I am well aware that what makes for a good day for me might not match what makes for a good day for someone else. Mine began with an editor a week or so ago who sent back a manuscript that did not say, “Thank you for letting us see your writing. Now, please send it somewhere else. Oh, yes, and good luck!” I’ve had those – or pretty close.

Several things made me happy with this return. This editor had actually read the whole manuscript. We writer types usually consider ourselves lucky if they read ten pages before “Thanks, but no, thanks” kicks in. I could tell she read it all because her critique covered every story line in the book. Did I mention she also had some really nice things to say about my writing – and research? After she made her points about the areas that brought her up short, she said she would be glad to read and respond to it again. (She clarified that she did not promise to publish, just to read and respond again.) Still. That was one good day!

Now this is not a new manuscript. The picture shows the box of drafts from rewrites over a number of years. When the box got full, I just began stacking drafts on top. I knew the letter called for yet another run. Thank goodness, I actually like the people I’ve put into this book and am glad to spend some time with them again.

The next good day came today after her words have rattled around in my head for this week. I sat down and highlighted references to one of the characters she thought I should address. As I drew my blue highlighter across the name every time it occurred, my mind began adding the details and seeing possibilities of where this could go. By extension, I can see how the other characters, done in their own colors, can get their due when I have finished with this one – all except one. But by the time I finish what I know, I’m sure that one will come around, too.

So what makes a good day? Examining my examples, it seems to be work. The return from the editor had suggestions that will require a strong look and much rewriting. The ideas that have come today as I highlighted? More of the same. Like I said, what makes a good day for me might not match what makes for a good day for someone else.

I’ve heard that some people like a day at the beach. Please don’t make me do something that boring, unless of course, you throw in a couple of little boys who want to make sand castles and frog houses.