Amy emailed me a couple of days ago with her second critique. She did not say, "Andi, you followed all my suggestions! A little change here, a few edits there, and you're good to go. Let's talk agents."
Instead, she said this: Every scene needs to in some way cause a later scene, and every scene needs to be caused by an earlier scene. This is how fiction differs from real life...we need to feel pressure building, things becoming more complicated for the main character and for her primary goal..."
After a couple more pages, she wrote "I know I'm being very prescriptive here. Take these recommendations with a grain of salt."
I say, prescribe away, because I am feeling disheartened and lost. Well, slightly less so after meeting with her this afternoon. We went over her critique, point by point, and analyzed each scene, one by one, getting rid of a few, and adding new ones. She also had some great plot ideas that add both tension and fun to the novel. I feel as if, with Amy, I am getting an individual tutorial in how to structure a novel (Amy teaches creative writing at a university).
I have a lot to do, but I know I can do it. I asked Amy to tell me if she felt that the book was publishable, or was I wasting my time. Her response: "You have a great voice, and it can work if you make these fixes." I'll take that as a yes.
It's all doable, but I almost cried when Amy suggested it needed about year's worth of work. I reminded her how quickly I did my last revision, although of course we now know it wasn't that good. Plus, she may not be available to re-read it until the FALL. Aaargh. We discussed the option of my switching to a different reader if she can't get to it for a while. After our meeting, I tossed that idea around with a friend, and I became persuaded that it's best to stick with Amy, however long it takes. I am so goddamn impatient, I can't stand it. I started this five or six years ago, it's undergone numerous revisions, and I want it done so it can be an Alec Baldwin movie and he can be my boyfriend.