I don't even know how to begin, other than to say that JM is one of the most perceptive people I have ever met (but also one of the scariest because she obviously knows her stuff). She was very welcoming and almost felt like an old friend. I felt very relaxed in her library, surrounded by hundreds of books and buried in a very comfortable sofa, as we went through my book and my life looking for a unique fact about me to use. I'm not so boring as I think, apparently!
The meeting with her yesterday left me exhilarated but exhausted. I finally got home at about 9.15 pm.
I'm going to do a full report back for my Cloud Line buddies, but this is a snapshot.
I have a deadline of three weeks to re-work Twisted Garlands. She seems confident that it will make it. Common-sense keeps whispering to me that her view is obviously subjective, and its success depends on others sharing that view. She says she has some publishers in mind but it is crucial that she pitches it with the right publisher for the genre.
Anyway, that is the last time I shall refer to my novel as 'Twisted Garlands' because Sunlight on Broken Glass, my second novel, has suffered from a stolen title! It's not terminal - she likes my WIPs - but, she says, we'll concentrate on them later. J says it is a brilliant title and will capture attention on the bookshop shelves (!!! omg I can't believe she actually said that !!!). She already has some ideas for the book cover.
I am scrapping my prologue, and substituting it with a half-page beginning which 'reflects' the title. We spotted what J called a 'gem' buried halfway through the novel to rework and use as the prologue. It's only half a page and I've just done that. I'll post the new beginning on Cutting It Fine for feedback.
J hasn't suggested any changes for the storyline at all - but I've got to put the novel on a diet and cut down the word count a little; she's suggested finishing the story in 1971 (thus covering about 50 years) instead of 2007 and saving the ending for a sequel!!
This means combining two of my characters (a mother and daughter) into one character and having one wedding instead of two. This will then cut down the word count and the excess can be saved to be used in the future.
Re-working the ending is going to take the most time, I think.
We went through the novel, page by page, in about four-and-a-half hours. I've got some tweaking to do with the structure of the chapters (mainly finding more natural chapter ends and running consecutive chapters into one).
Also I have to insert the main character's 'voice' at strategic places in the text to bring out the symbolism and give the reader an insight into his thoughts.
I'd say it's half-way between a rewrite and an edit.
And I have just three weeks, because, she says, when she gets back from her holiday she wants to get it out there!
(As an aside, do you know just how much the average advance is in the current economic climate? Just 3K but with enhanced royalties, apparently. It's a bloody good job we don't do it for the money, isn't it?)