So, did I survive my critique?
The simple answer is yes, I did.
I spent fifteen minutes with an editor from Macmillan who basically liked my book.
Yes, she liked it.
The writing, the idea, the synopsis, she liked it all.
There were no major plot holes, no glaring problems, nothing of the negative persuasion so we spent a bit of time discussing the use of certain words, what was suitable for my age range in terms of blood and violence and a little bit on the motivation of certain characters and the rough word count this type of book should aim for.
It was a pleasant fifteen minutes and I left reasonably happy that I seemed to be on the right lines with this book.
I had made the mistake of going out and jumping back into the whole arena of publishing after months of relative hermitlike behaviour where all I thought of was the writing and now the beast was back.
The desire to get published.
It's easy to keep it at bay when I stay at home and tap away at my keyboard, my mind full of character and plot. Easy to feel smug and say "No, it's the writing that I love, I don't need to get published."
Going out and meeting editors, brought it all back and I must admit to a tiny meltdown afterwards as the longing for external validation returned big time.
Luckily my friend Tania was with me to talk me back down from the ledge over pizza and wine (thank you Tania!) but I felt quite bad that night.
I felt weak for wanting it so much, for not being able to keep that desire down and just focus on my craft.
What was wrong with me? Was I a bad person? Why couldn't I love my craft for craft's sake and not need the validation of publication?
My epiphany came a couple of days later when I realised that that passion was good. That longing would be the thing that kept me going long after any normal person would give up. That desire to be published would make me slog on with my writing and submitting until I got somewhere.
If I could give up easily on my dream then maybe it wasn't really my dream?
But I do think it's important to keep control of this desire, to want it and work quietly towards it rather than career about in desperation trying to achieve it any way possible. I know how easy it is for the wanting to take over everything and that is not a place I want to go to again.
So I'm doing my best to stay focused, calm and patient.
Good things will come.
I've also decided that the best way to manage it is to time my forays into the world of agents and publishers to when I'm ready to submit. While I'm writing I'm going to focus on that and when the writing is good enough then I will step into the arena once again.
So I'm off to hermitville for the next few months, I have a first draft to finish and some editing to do. I hope to come out and play in the autumn.