Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Fricassee

Something cool happened yesterday.  I was reading/critiquing an early-draft manuscript for someone who had waited patiently for me to do so while I finished my revisions.

And I cried.

Here's the thing:  BOOKS DON'T MAKE ME CRY.  I know that sounds ludicrous, but it's true.  Movies make me cry.  Heck, Beauty and the Beast makes me cry every time.  (Every. Time.)  But books?  Not so much.

Yet here I was, reading a draft that, to be honest, needs a LOT of work (Well, don't all early drafts?), and suddenly my eyes teared up.

And I cried.

That says something, right?  Regardless of the work this piece needs, there is Something There.  Because I didn't only cry--I read through lightning-fast because I WANTED TO.

Let's be honest.  Works under critique aren't usually page-turners.  We're busy making in-line notes and puzzling over plot points that aren't quite working.  But this manuscript (and I have to keep emphasizing that it has a lot of problems!) made me want to keep reading.  Even when I'd say to myself, "Okay, one chapter before I start my day," it would end up three chapters.

Is that exciting or what?

So I'm thinking, maybe I'm finally developing an eye for stories that work.  This is the first time I've read a rough manuscript and was able to see the potential as clearly as though I had a final draft in my hands.  And it's a heady feeling!

I think this author is going to make it happen, too.  She's got the guts and tenacity and chutzpah to DO this thing.  And...well, it's exciting.

So that's me, glowing over an amazing critique experience.  What about you?  Do you know a diamond-in-the-rough when you see it?  Have you ever cried over someone's early draft?

Ain't the writerly life grand?


  1. Oh my gosh, I cry at Beauty and the Beast too! Wait...did I just say that on the internet?

    That's extremely cool. I wish I was that author, for a number of reasons. And suddenly I want to crit a novel again.

  2. Haha :) I think I know the MS to which you're referring. AND THAT'S SO EXCITING!

    This post embodies why I want to work as an agent or an editor, and that's to see these manuscripts, these rough-edged gems, and polish them to perfection. I can't wait until the first time a manuscript I edited/recommended to Agent Lady is on the shelves. With some of them, I know it will happen.

  3. Ooh! I hope you let the author know her work pressed your emotional buttons. That's so exciting. Very few books make me cry, but there have been a few. Does anyone remember that one great scene in HUNGER GAMES that pushes your switch on the waterworks? It did for me, anyway.

    When my agent read the proposal for the 2nd book in my Knight's Curse series, she told me she cried. And it's an amazing feeling when you can touch someone that deeply with your words.

  4. Oh, yes, Karen -- In fact, I IMed her while the tears were still fresh in my eyes. She was all, "Really? REAL TEARS?" =D

    Are you talking about the scene with Rue? That's a tough one.

    And wooo for making your agent cry! I think I've got an uphill battle with that, considering mine's a GUY and all. ;)

  5. That is super high praise! =) I like to think that it takes a lot for me to cry, and it does, but I literally bawled reading the end of Deathly Hallows the first time(when Harry used the resurrection stone)--I had to stop reading because I couldn't see the page. It is now my goal in life to make something so heartbreaking and epic that I will elicit a similar response in a reader. =)

    As for Hunger Games, I cried over Rue, and then in the last book, I cried at the end, with Buttercup. That was the only time I cried in all of Mockingjay--probably because I was in denial about a lot of the characters' fates. ;) Anyway...I'm excited to see this MS all polished up and in stores! =D

  6. YES! My Beta, also known as the fabulous lady who runs has this gift of making a story compelling.

    Even if the plot is flawed, and the story needs work, there's *something* about the way she writes that makes me keep wanting to read. Also, if you're looking to crit or be critted, you should check out her site and look for the "Looking for a critique partner?" link on the right hand side :)

  7. If I was that writer, that would be enough to keep me going until the end :-)

  8. I've never cried, but I have gotten to the end of crit section and swore because I didn't have the rest to read. I HAD to know what was going to happen... and this writer STOPPED. She was so hard on herself she quit writing the story. She only needed minor editing to make it perfect, but it wore her down. So now I'm stuck with this story in my head I can't wait to read more...and it seemingly won't ever be written.

  9. that's so awesome!
    I cry at books occasionally, depending on the book, but i've never cried over someone else's WIP.