Monday, March 9, 2020

Appreciation--Paying It Forward

I received the following email recently. This is the sort of thing that makes a teacher grin with delight. And feel the need to pay it forward.

Hey Vicki,

This is ____ from your early June class at John C. Campbell last year.  I feel considerably accomplished as I have recently completed the rough draft of my manuscript. Things started clicking in my brain just recently and I wrote the last twelve chapters in 8 weeks (out of 38). Understand, this draft is so rough, even you might get splinters just reading about it.

After completing your class, I felt terribly inadequate, not because I hadn't learned anything, but because I had learned so much. First, I came to the conclusion that I really didn't have a book, but a collection of stories that were associated with each other by character and setting. The collection had no significant meaning and no character arcs. I didn't do any writing for a couple of months while I let this problem stew. Then, like a 200 car train, I delved back into it with slight hints as to how to make these stories coalesce into a story were everything was related to each other: each chapter, paragraph and sentence was integral to the story line and contributed to the emotion building, resolution and character arc of a grand story!  Ok, Ok, if I can't get excited about my book, then who is.

I am editing all prior chapters, written ages ago, for content consistency. At 105,000 words, the process of winnowing out has begun. My aim is for 95,000. I'm on chapter 5 of this process and have only reduced it by 1,500 words.  I know I have some upcoming chapters that will yield better numbers.

Also, I have found a critique group since the beginning of the year. We have 3 very purposeful participants, including myself. And there are 3 dabblers. I am seeing some benefit and will hang in there.

I appreciate you and your lessons. Thanks so much for being accepting to all. 

Wasn't that nice? Now I need to do the same.

I doubt I have any teachers still living. Wait, not so. There's the fella who taught the Writing Fiction That Sells class that got me started. Perhaps I can track him down and send him an appreciative note. 

And Herself, the redoubtable editor of my six Goodweather novels. I learned more from her editing than a slew of classes could have taught me.

Okay,  done. I've emailed them both. Do you have teachers in your past that you appreciate? 


Anvilcloud said...

Great idea, and thanks for the spring flowers.

jennyfreckles said...

How lovely. I was touched to receive an email recently from a client I worked with briefly in 1999! We'd not been in contact since but he wrote to say how I had positively impacted his life and where it had taken him since then. I'm sure it wasn't a coincidence that what he had to say, in turn, 'spoke into' a situation I was in at the time. That's the way the cosmos works, it seems. I'm not sure I have any teachers still left but I can bring to mind a few colleagues who made a big difference to me. You've made me think now....