Friday, October 2, 2009

It Takes More Than A Village (if you ask me)

And when it comes to putting out a novel, perhaps an army. There are so many talented people involved in the creation and birth of a novel. It’s really pretty cool, I think. From those willing to be interviewed in the name of research, to those who review a writer’s work in progress, to the agent, to the editor and all the amazing people at the publishing house responsible for turning manuscript pages into a stunning book, and then marketing and selling that book. Wow.

But today I’d like to focus on all the lovely people a writer relies on before the manuscript reaches the hands of an editor. Let’s begin with those who give up their time to answer questions and be interviewed in the name of research. For me, this was a veterinarian who discussed how and why people’s pets sometimes form dog packs (for Dog Gone). And the hunters who patiently explained every aspect of deer hunting (for Buck Fever) and read what I wrote to be sure my scenes were true. And the nurse who educated me regarding traumatic injuries (again, for Buck Fever). The generosity of people can be amazing.

And then there are the wonderful people who donate their time to critique all aspects of a novel in progress. No matter how hard I work on a story, squint at it, pine over it, and fuss with it, inevitably I miss something. Don’t even ask how many times I’ve slapped myself on the forehead and muttered Duh! after a reviewer has pointed out something in need of fixing.

Most recently, while wrestling with a title for a novel, I got unexpected help from the world of Twitter. While in the midst of tearing my hair out, because I so rot at titles, I vented on Twitter about my frustration. A wonderful fellow writer offered her help and guidance. Really. Isn’t that amazing?

So, whether it takes a village or an army to build a novel to the point of completion may be up for discussion, but I don’t think anyone can argue with the value of the guidance and the generosity of those who contribute to the end result.


  1. How fun for you to be at a place in your career where you get to see this first hand. And, your are spot on when you say the writing community is a generous bunch. I can't think of a better group to associate with.

  2. The children's writing community really is amazing, isn't it? Such great people. I can't think of a better group to be with, either!