Underwater Basket Weaving 101

Posted: September 30, 2015 in Writing
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Underwater Basket Weaving

There is a running gag in our collective consciousness that any useless knowledge or any time “wasted” learning something is like taking a class in Underwater Basket Weaving. And who needs that, right?

I should have taken Underwater Basket Weaving 101 in college. And the advanced course, Underwater Basket Reweaving 201.

I’m being tested as a writer, and it’s my own damn fault. My daughter’s and my manuscript for our middle grade fantasy novel has been read by our dream agent, and she has asked for a Revise and Resubmit. And we told her we would be finished in two months.

That was three weeks ago.

We’re actually making fair progress (I say we because our book is a joint venture, but my daughter has left the R&R to me, because she is in school, and I just have two jobs). I’ve sifted through the notes and suggestions the agent provided and outlined a plan, chapter-by-chapter. And I think I can get it done in the time I promised.

But the thing about a Revise and Resubmit is that you have a pretty darn good and polished manuscript to begin with, or your wouldn’t have gotten the request in the first place. The typical response by an agent to a manuscript that isn’t quite right is, “This isn’t a good fit so I regret that I will have to pass,” because there are so many other promising manuscripts to go through, and only so many he or she can sign. So when you Revise and Resubmit, you don’t want to mess too much with what is working. You have to find just those threads that need embellishing or replacing and try not to disturb the rest.

It’s like taking a perfectly good woven basket with a complex color pattern, and deciding to replace all of the red fibers with yellow, and all of the green fibers with blue – without unraveling the pattern that’s already there. Quickly – because you are holding your breath and you are going to run out of air soon. And when you are done, the basket still has to be just as sturdy and pleasing.

And despite the fact that I missed taking Underwater Basket Reweaving in college, I think I’m getting the hang of it. Now that I have started actually revising the manuscript, I’ve managed a pace of about a chapter a day. I’ve gotten six chapters finished and have eight to go. Some chapters will have / have had more revising or more additional writing than others, and the most extensive work is still to come. But I’ve got my rhythm and the basket is holding.

The real issue is going to be what happens when my air is nearly gone and I discover I should have replaced the red with pink, not yellow.

  1. Sandra Coopersmith says:

    Let’s hope that your agent is so dazzled by the yellow that she goes for it!


  2. […] Underwater Basket Weaving 101 September 30, 2015 […]


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