Saturday, September 8, 2012

Oh Thank you, God . . . !

Hi, Everyone! The whole editing process of my novel was a nightmare for me. I took forever to do it. For a while I felt I was stumbling around in a fog. I resubmitted it once again, and then I decided to do it one more time.

There was one scene that was really bothering me—Mohini’s death scene and also the Keshu-Mustafa scene that followed. In fact, at that point of time Mustafa had no name even! I was reduced to wringing my hands helplessly.

At that time, Christopher Manley was to come out and give me an estimate for a roof. I had been giving him the runaround for 3-4 months now, but the day of the appointment had dawned. Since my roof was in a sorry state, and he was giving a good deal for doing the roof immediately, I signed the contract.

For the next 3-4 days we were in constant contact scheduling the roof and going over other things. His customer was service was great, and here I was stuck over my scene. Well, before I knew it I had emailed to him the whole scene. Do give your suggestions, I wrote!! He must have been very taken aback, indeed.

But the very next day, I received feedback from him. That “SWOO-O-O-SH” was his idea. I loved it! He had made a couple of other observations. They were so perceptive. The scales fell from eyes, all in an instant.

Now I realized exactly what was wrong with my scene!

The scene flowed out now. Mustafa even got a name, so well did it go. This was certainly what DIs are made of!

This led almost immediately to another DI. The very next day, I had an appointment with Cameron Cunningham, my NY Life insurance agent. We had become quite friendly. Naturally, I told her all about this DI. Right away she offered to help in any way she could. But I had no more tough scenes. What I did need was someone to read the whole of my manuscript—and that fast—and give me feedback.

Immediately, Cameron said she would do it. I cautioned her that time was short, and I would really need her to read it fast. No problem, she said. And she did indeed read my manuscript in just four days.

Her feedback was so very critical! I not only utterly enjoyed her little appreciative exclamations, the little smiley faces, in the ‘comment’ bubble, but her observations were so discerning. It took me a few days to incorporate all of them, but it enriched my novel. Some of the things she suggested:

·        Putting citations/attributes re Gandhi during the Moplah riots period

·        Organizing my Author’s Notes so they would be readable

·        Highlighting the dates throughout the novel

·        She made me realize that I should clarify the Fatherland/Motherland difference re Hindustan. I was very impressed with the fact that she spotted it.

She also trimmed my vocabulary. There were a couple of words that I had been expecting to get axed at the Trafford editing level, and was relieved to find they had survived. But they didn’t make it past Cameron’s sharp eyes. With a heavy heart I removed them. They are:

·        Sangfroid; I had to change that to cool. To me it just doesn’t say the same thing. But I let it go. It was better to use a word that spoke to the reader, rather than to me.

·        I had written in the 1946 period the words “wrangling and brangling.” I really liked them. I knew that ‘brangling’ is old English, but surely (I felt) one little, little word will be okay to use? Nope! Out that went too.

So you see, how essential was Cameron’s feedback?

I really felt—feel—God was watching out over me. My cup of Dis was brimming over and yet there was more to come . . . !
Anurupa

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