This is my September post for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers' Support Group. Click on the link and scroll to the bottom to find other participants.
When my daughter was in eighth grade, her English teacher focused on teaching the class how to write a clear essay. They spent an entire term working on one piece, probably about 500 words in length. In the end, their grade for that time period was based on weekly spelling tests and the one paper. Over the course of the term, the students met one-on-one with the teacher. She read and commented on their drafts, before sending the essays home with them so they could make corrections and pass in their best work.
Close to the due date, my daughter arrived home with her draft paper, marked with the teacher’s red ink and the word “logic” jotted next to several paragraphs. There was no explanation beside the word, and when I asked my daughter what the teacher meant, she was as confused as me. I had to read the paper a few times to understand that “logic” at least to her teacher, meant a lack of logic, or lack of sequence…that my daughter had referred to something early in the paper she hadn’t explained yet.
Once I figured it out, I showed it to her, and she muddled through making her changes. Eventually she turned in a paper that earned her an acceptable grade, while I discovered sometimes, mothers learn things when they end up being the teacher too.
And, boy oh boy, do I get logic now. I’ve been digging into edits on my novel, called Honeydew Ever After (Yes, folks, you read it here first!!). It’s been a lot of work, but I thought things were going pretty smoothly until screeeeech!! I had to slam on the breaks once I realized I had a character reacting to a conversation that takes place later in the manuscript. Of course the mistake had ripple effects. That eighth grade teacher’s red ink might have run out on me.
I was at the point where I’ve read this thing so many times, and made so many changes, I missed something apparent. But, finding it was as good a wake up call as I could have asked for. I’ve been plodding along with this idea that I’m getting close enough now, that the work remaining is the details. Nope. It’s in the big picture, too. The lesson I learned this week is, if you have any question at all, take another look. It may be the one that identifies a doozy.