So, as planned earlier this fall, Trapped in Paris and I were part of a Mystery and Imagination Book Festival.
As said earlier this month, I always go through a prep routine to get myself ready for this kind of events.
A few words about book events: even though all books are now available online, nothing beats a physical venue.
Meeting other readers and writers in person is a unique opportunity to share a common passion for words and stories, expand our network, renew established contacts, rekindle the writing flame, and yes put a face on online relationships.
As said earlier, there is always for me some apprehension.
Writing in a foreign language is hard enough, but being a speaker brings an unsettling mix of anticipation and anxiety to the nonnative.
As always, this book event was a mix of learning lessons and good time.
Since we were six writers, each of us was allowed twenty to twenty-five minutes. I came in fourth position and was relieved: I would take full advantage of my slot.
In reality I didn’t relax at all while listening to the first three authors.
I found them funny and clever. And they spoke fluent English. No way I could match them.
Yet in real reality I did relax. Especially toward the end.
Everyone was nice and smiling. They liked the cover of my book and Paris and everything French. And they even complimented me on my English.
The event was videotaped and a local TV channel stopped by to tape a segment.
When available I will lock myself in my den. I’m sure to draw valuable lessons from this new experience.
Talking of experience, my editor has e-mailed me my middle grade novel edited and copy-edited. She worked as she did with Trapped in Paris, tracking changes on Word.
But when I worked on Trapped in Paris I did one huge mistake: I changed too much stuff from the story after the editor had finished her job. This mistake became a challenge for the formatting of the manuscript, which in turns is essential for the printing part.
My husband played a crucial role during this step. He’s supportive, resilient, clever, and skillful, but there are limits to everything and everyone. He remembers of our first partnership experience. Since I’d like to keep the partnership I must avoid a second round of similar mistakes.
This time I’m NOT rewriting big chunks of the novel. Promise.
Although my novel is a work of fiction, I was inspired by the cultural, social and political backgrounds of the early 70s in France and the USA when I wrote this story. With my editor’s comments filling my screen, I need to double-check a few historical and cultural dates and accuracies, which I thought I had done. Like: when did Levi’s make jeans for women or how was the Coca-Cola logo in 1971?
See the importance of a second impartial pair of eyes?
So I get to read more about music, history and even clothes (oh lalala) from the 70s.
This is the fun part.
The less fun part: I should get rid of every adverb. We all know that an active verb is better than a verb plus an adverb. But that’s not my editor’s comment.
No, it’s a personal decision and based on a simple fact: I just can’t understand where adverbs go.
Hey, in French I’m just fine, so it’s really this darned English language.
But writing is a journey they say.
Mine is only a bit bumpier. Yes, I know, obstacles make the trip more interesting.
That’s what I said at the book event. People liked it.
We always like it when others tell of their challenges; it helps us to surmount ours. And I’m totally convinced that mistakes and obstacles (ours and theirs) exist to make us better. Better people. Better writers.
So, once more, I’m tackling the embarrassing task: to agree on countless Accept Change offers from my editor.
Accept. Click. Accept. Click. Accept. Click…
I will deal with my husband later this week.