Previously on My Writing Journey Part One and Two – after accidentally discovering the plot to my first novel, I decided to participate in my first ever (actual) Nanowrimo … and hated that first week.
But, again, my little lucky star was watching over me.
One day, after forcing out half of my word count for the day, I decided to take a break and log into Warcraft. (‘Gasp!’ you say. ‘No! Don’t succumb to the temptation, Crystin!’) Luckily, Murph happened to be online at the time, and of course, asked his usual “Have you written your words today?”
“Yup!” I responded – it wasn’t entirely a lie. I had written that day.
Murph wasn’t fooled. Either that, or he planned on teasing me and hit a nerve. “Are you just saying that so I’ll let you play? I wish there was a way I could actually see what you’ve written to help keep you accountable.”
“Uh …” Drat. Why did he have to make such a good point? “Well, I guess I can send you what I have so far. I mean, it’s a really rough draft, and it’s obviously not done … but you can read it if you want.”
“Really?!” The amount of excitement in Murph’s voice made me blink. “I’d love to read what you have! It’ll be a great way to make sure you don’t cheat, either. Not that I think you will, but at least I won’t feel like a bully for asking you all the time.”
“I don’t think you’re a bully. I’m the one that told you guys to pester me when you saw me online.”
“True, but I feel like I’m the only one asking. How did you want to send the file? Google docs?”
This was progressing a lot faster than I had planned. “Um, sure, I could. I don’t really know how to use Google docs, though.”
“Oh, it’s easy. I use it for work stuff all the time. Here, let me minimize WoW.” (FYI – WoW is geek speak for World of Warcraft. And yes, we say ‘wow’.)
Several minutes later, I had a crash course on how to use Google docs, Murph’s email, and my current progress uploaded into an online file (I was writing in Microsoft Word previously). I sent Murph the link – and as soon as I hit the ‘send’ button I almost choked on my pulse.
What the heck was I doing? Letting a virtual (haha!) stranger read my story? My unfinished, potentially crappy story? What if he hated it?! I mean, the main character was a girl. A thirteen-year-old girl, in fact. At least, she was for the first chapter, which was about all I had done by that point. Was there a way to delete the link? Would it sound horrible if I suddenly said, “Uh, wait, actually – I don’t think I want you to read this after all.” Yeah. That didn’t sound rude at all. I cringed, trying to come up with a solution to this nightmare of my own creation.
Already, little spots of color started showing up on my document. Crap, he was highlighting stuff! Typos? I knew it! I was a terrible writer, unworthy of setting pen to paper – or finger to keyboard, as the case may be. The whole thing was going in the trash and to heck with this novel writing nightmare!
Then I realized the highlights were comments. Good comments. Oh, sure – there were one or two places where he pointed out I had ‘she’ instead of ‘her’, or ‘he’ instead of ‘the’ – but he also highlighted sections and commented ‘Oh, I like!’ or ‘Oooh!’ or any other assortment of encouraging remarks.
Hey, I thought to myself. This isn’t so bad. After all, he wasn’t being mean or cruel when pointing out errors. If anything, he was apologetic about it. “Sorry, I’m a spelling and grammar nazi – I’ll stop now.” he commented once. It’s hard to feel embarrassed when you’re being apologized to.
Then Murph reached the end of what I had thus far, which admittedly, was only a couple of pages. Guys – this moment was and is, by far, my absolute favorite thing about letting him read my work. Remember, I was struggling with my word count – so I stopped in the middle of a section. Not mid-sentence, but the scene wasn’t complete. Murph highlighted the last sentence and said, “GAH! You can’t stop there! I need to know what happens next – don’t leave me hanging!”
Words cannot express the boost of confidence that simple comment inspired.
Murph not only liked what I wrote: he wanted more.
There can’t be any greater compliment for a writer in this universe. Well, there might be, but it’s definitely up there in the top five.
Of course, I logged back into WoW to get more feedback. Because, really, what writer doesn’t want to hear that a reader likes their work? “Hey Murph! Thanks for the comments on the book. You really like it?”
“Of course I like it! It’s exactly the sort of stuff I like to read. Sort of like Eragon, but without dragons.”
Now, I’ve read Eragon, and I honestly still can’t see the comparison – but I wasn’t about to argue with a fan. “I’m so glad! I wasn’t sure if it was any good …”
“It’s awesome! Do you know where you’re going to go with the rest of the story, or are you making it up as you go?”
“A little of both.” I briefly explained my vague outline – which by this point, had both Sebastian and Lucien worked into the storyline.
Murph followed along with avid interest. “Man, I can’t wait until you have that all written out. I’m going to apologize in advance for hovering in Google docs.”
I laughed. “Hover all you want, I don’t mind.” Filled with new enthusiasm, I said, “Well, I just wanted to thank you again for reading and commenting. I’m going to go write a little more, I think. I’d hate to leave you hanging!”
To be continued on November 23rd …