My house is littered with tiny socks, coffee cups, and various brightly colored plastic toys, but I'm stealing a little time while Sela is asleep and Kate is at school to go through my manuscript. I received the edited version back from Joy a little before Christmas, and she gave me SO much feedback. She was brutal, but I asked her to be. The last thing I wanted was for her to say, "It's great, I liked it!" I wanted her to tell me the truth so I'd know what I needed to focus my energy on as I edit and tighten. There's so much, it's hard to even kno where to start! I'm reading through her notes for the first time, then I'll go back into my document on the computer and start reworking things.I'm in the easy part right now, which is basically slashing big "delete" symbols throughout the pages. It took a subjective eye to show me that my MS is very wordy. Cutting out words makes it much tighter. I said this is the easy part because the harder part will come later--actually reworking sections of the story. That part makes me want to stuff the MS in a box under my bed! Sometimes I look at the two-inch-thick stack of paper and think, "How in the world did I get all that out? Where did it come from?" I don't know if I'll be able to go back in and change plot points and make it all sound cohesive. Part of me thinks it'd be easier to write a whole other book rather than change this one in any meaningful way. But I don't really want to stick it in a box under my bed. I know many people say any writer's first book belongs there instead of on a publisher's desk, but it would make me sad if all this work never finds it's way out of my house, except to other friends' desks. I want someone important to read about Elizabeth, Fletcher, Ray, and Andy and to tell me it's good work. Good enough to find its way to a bookstore bookshelf. Or to Amazon's cyber bookshelf, since that's the way things are going these days. I just hope other people can read my story and enjoy it. But between me and that far off dream stands a TON of work. And with family matters taking up about 90% of my time, and laundry, cooking, errands, and Downton Abbey taking up the other 10%, I'd say I have, oh, about 6.5 years of work on this book staring me in the face! I think I hear Sela waking up now.