Had a good meeting with my fiction writers group last night, who had read the first half of my new novel (160pp). They all seemed to like the manuscript so far, and there was general agreement about the weak spots (which were where I thought they were). It's stuff I can fix, though I still have to puzzle my way through. There was a spirited discussion of race and racial identity, which made me feel like I'd gotten at least part way on the right track, if not all the way there yet, in my manuscript.
We're reading the second half of my novel next month, so I have a some touch-up to do next week, and then I need to get it out to them so they have time to read it.
One of my friends told us about the unexpected success of her sibling, who wrote a novel mostly for kicks, and then promptly got picked up by a big agency. Hard for all of us, who have been writing seriously for a long time, not to be jealous as hell. Made me think of this terrific post on Malachy Walsh's blog, Lit Dept.:
In his post, Malachy writes, "You only get back to healthiness when you get back to work." I like that.
As for me, the meeting last night has given me an increased resolve to pick up the pace of my revisions to this new novel. I really need to make sure that I'm putting in three hours a day, minimum, on these revisions.
I had a writing professor who told me once, "Pat, you're not a first draft writer. It doesn't come out of you fully formed. But if you work at it, your writing can be great." Good advice, to not expect to be finished at the starting line.