See Lucy's face? That's me, staring at my first two chapters. I chose to enter a contest at She Writes for new novelists. They asked for the first 2,000 words, but my first two scenes were 2,350... wherein I flouted my love for the words "just" and "then" and, happily, "smiled."
"I can edit," I told myself with confidence. "You edit every day, all day long." True. As a transcriptionist, I mold what the doctors say into grammatically correct sentences. Sometimes, this is no easy feat, particularly for Dr. Happy Connective Phrase, MD.
But edit my own words? I remember writing them. Birds sang at the window. Sun streamed through the blinds, making a cheerful pattern of warmth on the floor. My coffee mug steamed with goodness.
A month later, there's no cozy, Disney feeling. Squirrels are not cheering on my front step.
After two sessions and five hours at the computer, my word count equaled 1992. Success!
Now for the one page synopsis/bio/photo/contact information buffet. I dove into another two-hour session. I found examples online of what other published writers submit. Horrors! They include cover art? Really? Must you raise the bar that high? Add another 45 minutes scrolling through Google Images.
And then, at 10:15 PM, I threw back my chair in Triumph. FINISHED. I admired my pdf and opened a new email page, filled the moonglow of confidence (it was late, people).
"Houston? Why won't this go into the body of an email?"
- I wrangled.
- I copied.
- I pasted.
- I dragged.
- I spat.
Nothing worked. Finally, I retyped the email. The lovely soup bowl with chopsticks art refused to convert, so I abandoned it. The cover meets the requirements, but there is no Polish. No Pep.
After sending, I sat looking at my original pdf, dejected, scrolling through the toolbars. What's "mail selected PDF document?" Barely caring and slightly blurry-eyed, I clicked, and the Whole Stinking Email Universe Aligned, opening a new email with my PDF perfectly inserted inside.
At this moment, it occurred to me that Lucy's vitamin drink was actually alcohol, and perhaps I should have started this whole exercise in torture with a glass of wine. Or a bottle.
What's your editing or contest entry story? Any stinkers? Cuz I hate to be alone... Here, let me pour you a glass.