“Wow, I’m very intrigued. You’re clearly a skilled writer. Reading these pages was entirely pleasurable.” These were among the first words emailed to me by mentor, after reading the first 30 pages of Lunatics.
Needless to say, I was thrilled, flattered, feeling pretty good about myself. Maybe, I was thinking, this correspondence course was going to be a piece of cake—no deep editing required, just a tinkering with what was already a strong manuscript. I could easily endure thirty weeks of compliments and back-patting from a knowledgeable and appreciative mentor…
How do you spell "fool's paradise"?
But no, that was not how this process was going to play out. My mentor was not going to allow get me away with anything. If something wasn’t entirely clear to him, if it struck him as an unlikely action for the character, or an unconvincing choice of words, he was going to let me know right away and expect me to fix it.
Good, I thought. Bring it on. I have been in a writing group for several years. It has been a valuable experience in many ways, but no member of the group has ever been prepared to challenge my writing with such vigour.
And finally my mentor brought up the question of Point of View (POV), professing he was a stickler about keeping it absolutely consistent. He had found at least one instance where I had strayed in this matter.
Okay, okay, little things… I would happily fix them up. No problem. The important thing was the mentor liked my work.