The Washington Post, 5/31/2020: “The docking was a delicate and dangerous part of the mission. The spacecraft chased down the space station, traveling in orbit at 17,500 m.p.h., but then approached very slowly in a series of carefully choreographed maneuvers.”
SpaceX docked this afternoon, realizing its mission to deliver Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station. From lift-off to traveling through 254 miles in space to the intricate alignment of the two vehicles to allow transfer, the immensity of this accomplishment is mind-boggling and humbling.
The task ahead of me to edit Eliza’s story seems trivial in comparison. Yet, here I am. Sitting in my little corner of the universe. Six pages of summary notes and 321 pages of tracked changes and inserted comments from my editor spread across the table. After five anxious weeks, Eliza is home. She awaits as I strap into my writing position to blast off into the great beyond of Manuscript Draft #6.
I haven’t worked for 2.5 years on this novel to abort my mission.
I’m ready to push onward and upward.
- To polish the story into a historical fiction which educates and entertains readers.
- To reach the top of this long struggle and bask in the glow of pride and praise.
- To share the inspiration of Eliza’s story with others.
I’m kicking off this next leg of my writing journey with a workshop offered by the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Grabbing the Reader. We’ll be refining the first 500 words of our novel with review and input from peers. If you can’t engage a reader in the first 500 words (approximately the first 1.5 pages), your novel may be doomed. Take a moment and look at the opening of the book you’re currently reading. Do the first couple of pages accomplish these goals?
- Is the first line evocative?
- Can you decipher where and when the story takes place?
- Is the main character named?
- Who is she in terms of her age, life situation, lifestyle, characteristics, personality?
- What motivates the main character?
- Are sentence lengths varied?
- Are there no repeated words/phrases?
- Is there one point of view?
- Is foreshadowing introduced?
- Are the senses invoked to make a scene come life?
I won’t bore you with the other 35 tips in the checklist. Suffice to say, I’ve got my work cut out for me for the next few weeks? Months? Astronauts Behnken and Hurley are expected to stay at the Space Station from anywhere between five weeks to four months. Let’s hope Eliza beats them in her mission – preparing to go off into the hands of another set of beta readers.
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