I started this blog a couple of years ago because I was bursting with good news from my critique group and wanted to shout out to the whole world. A lot has changed since then. I no longer participate regularly in the critique group because of family responsibilities. Now that my kids go to school and play sports, my evenings are for them. But I do meet weekly during the day with Jen Heger. She's in the same boat as me with kids and sports and has the same heart as me, wanting to maximize her time with her children. Of course, I still see the others once in a while, or we share manuscripts online.
With Jen's help, I've managed to write not just a skeleton of a novel, but over 50,000 words of a book that's nearly finished. And I must before school ends in three more weeks. She's eager to read pages every week and because she wants to know what happens next, I write. I never write like this. I always show work when I can no longer make it better by myself. But I have to admit that working with one person like this, brainstorming and bouncing ideas back and forth, has been very, very good for me. When Jen makes suggestions, I always ask her to write the book for me :)
I thought I'd be crazy excited to finish this book, but the truth is, I'm half dreading it. Then the real work of revising and rearranging and throwing out and writing new scenes will occur. My first draft is exploratory, which means it is a HUGE mess. Still, getting past the 50K mark on a first draft is good news for me.
I also got some good news from Highlights. A story I wrote a while back, Teeter-Totter, will be published next year. I remember going through six revisions with Marileta Robinson (she's retired now) because my animals were far too mean to one another in the original version. I'm glad she didn't give up on me. So, yes, talking animal stories do sell and even when stories are not perfect, editors see their potential.
Novel-writing and teaching don't leave me as much time for magazine shorts, but I have several shorts that have been stewing. This summer, when I'm lazing around with my kids, I'll write them up. Oh, yes, I'll have a novel to revise, but it can wait until the fall.
So, what good news do you have to share? It doesn't have to be big. Small things make me disproportionately happy as well.