11 Comments

Adding to my earlier comment. My cellist, the one I based my character on read my story!! “So many things to relate to in your story” and he wants to read more!!

And I sent the full

Manuscript to a violinist after he said he’d read!

I sent requests to 7. Spoke to a pianist after her concert. It’s happening!

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Jan 8Liked by Jami Attenberg

Ok Jami. This one hit me in the gut. I have an entire novel about classical musicians but not one had read the pages. I asked our concertmaster here who is a friend. I even asked the cellist who inspired one of my characters. But nothing. I need to go back to them and others and ask. The pencil edits I’m making mean nothing without their eyes. And this is after 34 rejections in 2023. Thank you.

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Jan 7Liked by Jami Attenberg

I appreciate that even a published author can struggle with the thing I struggle with: when is it "right" and when does my novel need more edits, more as you call it, "tightening of the screws." You have so many readers of your drafts. I realize that is something I need to do, find readers to give me feedback. Thank you Jami.

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I appreciated this post from @jamiattenberg, about making sure a story is as right and true as you can get it, even at the very end when you think you're done. I just ran into this myself with my own about-to-be-published novel. It takes place on Bonaire, one of the Netherland Antilles islands, and I did my research and visited appropriately for the book (long ago) but I missed something that a friend, reading an advance copy while she was in the hospital, caught. Unbeknownst to me, she used to live on Aruba, the island next to Bonaire, and she said I got something really wrong--you can't see the coast of Venezuela from the islands. There are four mentions of that in the novel, very very minor, and at first I told myself, It's at final galley stage about to go to the printer, forget it. But it bothered me and I finally sheepishly emailed my editor, gave her the four corrections, and we were able to sneak them in under the wire. Like you, I felt so much better having done that. Because a book has a long life, you know. It'll be around for years and I want it to be as right as I can get it. Thanks for speaking to the meaning of this, even at final stages.

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I love this - thank you Jami! My novel originally had Appalachian coal mining as a big part of its context - my husband and I even spent my birthday last year touring one so I could research (nerd alert). Now I'm finding that I'm cutting a LOT of that, but keeping some gems I learned from talking to the people who really know that industry. Coal is now a minor character in the story, but I feel no regret over all that research because I learned a lot, and it still helped me develop a better appreciation for my characters who live among that setting. (OMG I just said "live" - like they're real. I love that.)

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no fear, I’m not coming until second half of month--anyway, snowing and below freezing in my neighborhood today. looking forward to NOMA and so much more. I might have to bake a gf king cake! would certainly go traditional--there is nothing like yeasty starch with sweet and fat, and just a hint of cinnamon, orange zest, maybe almond... (finishing up the panettone as we speak 😉).

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Jan 7Liked by Jami Attenberg

thank you for this, Jami--I’ve been having a similar experience, catching some ragged threads that only became visible (to me) once the house was tidy around them. it is amazing to me, a special magic, that I will be in New Orleans--finally, have been trying to get there for research for so long--for your book launch write-along--after reading your words all these years! looking forward to it. is there one thing in NOLA you would like everyone to see or know about? wishing you all good things as this book flies up and out into the world.

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