We’re four months into the Passion Project, and this has been the toughest month for me.

I am accepting editing suggestions and rewriting the proposal and sample chapters. Not only is it hard to read what someone else has to say about your work, it’s also difficult to watch her tell 12,000 of your SheWrites friends what you did wrong. I have had to tell myself over and over again that editing is a necessary part of the process and other writers may find the critique of my work helpful.

Amanda Moon and Lea Beresford provided thoughtful editing. The task is tedious, and I have a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for anyone who helps make me and other writers look good.

Amanda and Lea focused on weaker areas in my work.

In the proposal, I need to be clear about what I want readers to take away from the book, as well as communicate the broad appeal of the book. Amanda suggested I rewrite and pay close attention to the very first sentence in the overview, and she suggested I group all comparable titles by genre. In most cases, the information is in the proposal, but it is either in the wrong place or I haven’t placed enough emphasis on it.

The book already has grown into something larger than I intended. As a result, I have held back in places. I would like to conduct a survey, but I have been stymied by enormity of the task. I am concerned about the upfront investment a survey may require—an investment I don’t have. Amanda said I should write what I intend to do, start small and see where that leads me.

I definitely needed help with organization, and Lea provided some much-needed feedback in that area. I know how to write a story from beginning to end, but I have struggled a bit with foreshadowing and when I should give the proper context. I know if I can master this lesson writing the book will be so much easier. That is just one of the reasons I printed the proposal and sample chapters with the editing comments and made an electronic copy of the originals. I will use both to study errors I made so that I can write cleaner copy in future drafts.  I also will refer to both copies as I continue writing the book and tweaking the proposal.

Amanda and Lea took a hard look at the title and subtitle of the book. At the moment, the title is Raising Simone and Nadia: A Black Mother’s Journey to Racial Self-Discovery. Amanda said there is “tension” between the title and subtitle. The title says the book is about parenting, while the subtitle says it’s about racial self-discovery. I need to somehow marry the two and show how I raised my daughters as they helped raise me. I agree and I am writing and rewriting subtitles.

Lea said it is easier to say Raising Nadia and Simone. I say both of the names so much I can’t really tell. I asked a few friends and they agreed with Lea. It’s much easier to say Nadia and Simone. My only concern with changing the title is that most of the racial drama surrounds Simone. By the time Nadia was born, I had already learned a bevy of lessons. There weren’t nearly as many questions and comments from strangers who could clearly see I had two babies who looked like sisters.

I know the publisher will have the last word on the title and subtitle. I will submit my best idea, knowing that I will fight mightily if the title is off base or doesn’t properly convey the story.

For now, I must continue editing my work and looking forward to 2011. It’s been a wonderful year. I won the first-ever Passion Project and access to priceless consultants. I know there is much more to come in 2011.  Rebecca Rodskog, my life coach compliments of SheWrites, says success comes from intentions. In 2011, I intend to find an agent and publisher for my book, regardless of its title.

6 thoughts to “Passion Project Update

  • Blanc2

    Stick with it. Writing is hard work. There are no shortcuts. Lots of brutal editing and brutally honest criticism is necessary.

    Reply
  • Mrs. K

    Wow, I’m very proud of you for writing a book about this. I can’t think of one out there like it. I can’t wait until it’s finished. I agree that Nadia and Simone flows better and besides it’s in alphabetical order. LOL. Also have you thought about extending the subtitle so there’s no “tension.” For ex: a black mother’s journey to racial self discovery through raising her biracial children. I don’t know. I like your title but I’m no expert. 🙂 Good luck.

    Reply
  • Ernessa from 32 Candles

    I agree about the title suggestion. Even if your youngest wasn’t part of the discovery, she was part of the journey. I like the shorter title much better. It’s so amazing to hear about your journey. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Honeysmoke

      That means a lot coming from you. Thanks so much.

      Reply
  • Honeysmoke

    Thanks to everyone for the encouragement.

    Reply
  • Rebecca Rodskog

    Bravo for sharing just how difficult this (public) process can be! You will be helping others just by sharing your story. You rock.

    Reply

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