A few years back I wrote a middle-grade manuscript (writer's note: You can't call something a "book" or "novel" unless it's published... until that glorious day it must be referred to as a "manuscript") called Millicent Powers Picks A Pet. At the time, I had an editor interested in the project but they've since taken a pass on the manuscript. I've worked on it sporadically since then but haven't devoted too much attention to it. I know it needs a major overhaul and I haven't quite found the inner reserves needed to commit to such action.
But, two years ago when I was really into working on the story, I asked my friend Ed if his 9-year-old daughter Katrina, a member of my target audience, might be induced to read the book and let me know what she thought?
Let me tell you--I'd had adult writers critiquing my work for months and I was nowhere near as nervous as I was when I handed that sheaf of papers over to a 9-year-old.
But Katrina read the book and liked it. I was thrilled! She also pointed our a few inconsistencies that interestingly, none of my adult readers had caught. I did some more work on the book but, as mentioned, set it aside after a time.
This is a long way of getting around to what happened yesterday. Ed and I met for lunch and as we're waiting in line he snaps his fingers and says, "Oh, I've been meaning to ask you... Katrina's been asking if she could read Millicent again. Would you mind e-mailing it to me?"
Hello! I'm floating on air. What a brilliant, precocious child. Really--you couldn't have made me happier if you'd handed me a thousand dollars. Screw the editor--I have a kid who wants to reread my book.
I am a very, very happy writer.