Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Donita K. Paul: Day 2

I was going to post a review today for DragonQuest, the second book in Donita’s fantasy series, but I suddenly find that … I never wrote a review, whether for Amazon or otherwise! I’m feeling quite embarrassed by this discovery, especially given the glowing comment Donita left on my previous post a while ago. (Was she really talking about me? LOL)

And now, it’s late, and I must get myself and my older children up at 7 AM tomorrow to face the dreaded green beans—which my dear children spent 3 hours picking yesterday, and I thought would be able to go till Thursday or Friday before needing picked again (nobody say a word about my Midwestern dropped “to be,” okay??). Now, in addition to packing and servicing the van for our trip, I have to deal with yet MORE canning …

Breathe in, breathe out. I can do this. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

The thought occurs to me that instead of a traditional review (it’s the continuing adventures of Kale and friends, both old and new, and I love the story; any questions?), I could recount the most memorable moments as crit partner to Donita as she agonized over the birthing of this book.

The critique group came together while Donita was under deadline to finish the story—I think she had about six weeks to go, or less. When she invited us to help her polish the manuscript, I was thrilled—but never have I been so nervous over a critique! With much fear and trembling, I offered suggestions as she submitted chapters, and soon we began to learn each other’s critique and writing styles, and were chugging right along.

It wasn’t quite that easy on her end, of course. She had the usual setbacks—health issues, family issues—and at the deadline knew she wouldn’t finish and had to beg an extension from her editor (which he graciously granted). And then, after the story was finally finished and polished to her liking, came requested edits. The roughest part then was finding out that she had to cut 20,000 words from the story—and I nearly wept at the thought of what in the story might have to go. After going through the critique process with her, I loved it all.

When the book was finally released, I read it with a little trepidation—but found that I only missed two small parts from the original version. The rest was as good—or better—than I had remembered: Kale’s getting into trouble right off the bat for trying to see justice done—her early encounters with the dour, proper Bardon—the wonderful energy between Regidor and Toopka, from whom I got the quote I’ve often used on my husband, “No matter how smart you get, I’ll always be older than you!” And Dar is there in all his furry-faced, impeccably dressed glory. And there’s the luminous beauty of the night Paladin pays a personal visit, which brought tears to my eyes when reading it the first time … and the warm, funny, heartwrenching moments when Kale discovers—well, when she discovers who she truly is, and where she came from.

Ahhh. It’s no wonder my family loves these books. I wish I could write like Donita—light and full of hope, yet wise and deep.

Don't forget to check out the other blogs on tour, as listed on Rebecca Miller's site.

6 comments:

  1. Love this insight into the writing process. Other folks can do reviews, but not too many people can share crit group stories. I'm glad you and Beth are. Stuart may too, before the tour is out. Who knows.

    Really, 20,000 words?! Wow! That would just about kill me, I think.

    Becky

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  2. Yeah 20k words....

    And talk about the crit group experience huh? I guess I could if I can think of any good stories. ;)

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  3. Oh yes, Becky, we thought it would kill us all!! LOL

    And Stuart, you could tell about the crit session where Donita first realized that your Saurians don't errrr, wear traditional clothing? :::grins evilly:::

    They ARE decently covered, of course ... ;-)

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  4. ROTFLOL! That'd be a GREAT story, Shannon. I admit that knowledge got me in a little trouble with Randy I. in Nashville too. *blushes* But lots of fun!

    As for the 20K...the bain of a writer's existence. Just pray you never have to ADD that much. Ouch!

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  5. 20,000 words? Wouldn't they accept a limb instead?

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  6. Great entry, Shannon. Thank's for sharing!

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