Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Looking At the Bright Side

A professor I knew in graduate school used to tell a story about a letter of recommendation he’d received for a prospective student. It said, “Anyone who takes [name redacted] into his lab will learn a lot about himself.”

As I slog along trying to turn my WIP into a novel, I’d like to add that any writer who attempts a revision of this magnitude will learn a lot about him/herself. Between you and me, it’s not always a pretty sight. To fend off discouragement, I’m trying to remember a couple things. 

First, when Name Redacted decorated the ceiling of the dark room with glow-in-the-dark stars, he earned a severe reprimand. Stray light is a bad thing in a dark room. Nowadays, most dark room work has been replaced with more sensitive technology, but back then, dark room time was a strange combination of sensory-deprived boredom and anxiety about how the experiment would come out. The image of a mini constellation shining down on tired and worried scientists has remained with me through the decades. 

Second, Name Redacted eventually had a successful scientific career.


Natalie Aguirre said...

I can relate to how revision is not always pretty. I've been doing it for like nine years and am finally going to do one last one before I start querying. At least that's what I hope I'm doing after I get one more beta reader's comments.

Ann Finkelstein said...

Natalie: Good luck with your manuscript. I'm glad yours is almost ready.