Sunday, April 19, 2009

Doctors, Firemen and Critics, Oh My!

What a crazy last few days. Life is rarely predictable or ordinary in our house!

Thursday and Friday I spent the majority of the days in and out of the pediatrician's office, the school and the pharmacy trying to convince the doctor that my youngest daughter had an infection. Not even with all the research in my last book do I pretend to have a medical degree, but there are a few things that are easy to diagnose, and I don't care what a test says, I know my daughter is sick.

I think it was one of the few times I've really had to fight for one of my kids to get what they needed, but I did it, and finally I found the doctor who would believe me, and thankfully today, after 36 hours of medicines, she is feeling much better.

Then Saturday my husband and I spent the day cutting down a tree that had fallen over our driveway and hauling the pieces to the fire pit. In the evening, we celebrated the success with roasting hot dogs over the fire. And then the neighbors called the fire department and reported we had set a fire in the woods, and we got to entertain the firemen for a while as well.

The best part about that was that they admired our fire pit and told us we had a great fire going. The neighbors felt sheepish. Maybe next time we should invite them over for s'mores.

Then everyone disappeared into the house and I got to sit outside, in the 70 degree weather, feet propped up on the fire pit, and blissfully finish my book. Officially, the Time Traveler's Wife is finished. And wow. I wasn't disappointed.

So many times I get to the end of a book and it is such a letdown, but I loved this book. I loved the intricacy of it, and the depth of the characters (although there were a few things they did that didn't seem to fit them). I loved the end - if this could have been a real story, it would have been a real ending. And I wasn't sure if I thought it was triumphant or incredibly sad that once Henry is gone, he still can come back. Can anyone really go on with their life that way? But then, if that is the love of your life, isn't it amazing you still get to see him, even if not all the time?

That's a talking point, for sure.

What I did realize out of this though is that you have to have a really tough skin as an author. Not just finding-an-agent-tough. But really, really thick skin. Because as I went to mark it on GoodReads as having read the book (instead of currently reading), there were a lot of comments from people about what they thought. And there were some seriously harsh critiques.

For everyone who liked something about the book there were fifteen who hated the book with such passion it oozed out of the computer screen. Scathing words are said about the authors use of language, how long or short the sentences are, the copy-cat-likeness of this to Slaughterhouse Five, the stupidity of the characters, the author's inability (or courage) to just call this science fiction, the dullness and slowness of it, the idiocy of Oprah and the minions who buy books she recommends. By the time I finished reading about ten of these, I felt bad for liking the book at all. Was I that bad a judge of a book??

It put into perspective all the writers who complain about bad agents who don't send personalized rejection. Seriously, if you can't hack not getting a response from an agent on a query, could you survive publication?

I'm not thrilled with going through the query process, but I realize (with some amount of blind hope) that I won't be on this side that long. Someday I'll be making my way through another obstacle: subbing to publishers. Then another obstacle. And then another. All with the hopes of throwing my book out there for people to... what? Bash. Trash. Criticize. Loathe.

It's a cruel world out there.

I just want to be a part of it.


  1. Glad to see everything is normal at the Willis'....LOL..we miss you guys.

  2. yeah, we are a weird bunch, us writers.

    That's all I'm gonna say about that.

  3. We are gluttons for punishment but in the end it will be worth it. At least that's what others tell me.

  4. Here's to cruelty, rejection and humiliation!

  5. I don't like it when people bash an author or a book. Criticism can be handled with class.
    Do you know that in all my years I've never had s'mores? Strange huh?

  6. Isn't it great when we find out other people have crazy lives? The fireman arriving at your hot dog roast--what fun!

    We are all in this crazy business together. As Hth said, we are a weird bunch--but we are tough and that, my girl, is what it takes.