Friday, May 16, 2014

Flash: Manuscript Sent to Beta Readers

Miss Shields from A Christmas Story
     For those of you who have not seen A Christmas Story based on writings by Jean Shepherd, your assignment for today is find it and watch it. You will laugh and laugh out loud. It is one of the movies we traditionally watch at Christmas time.
     Today I know just how the main character Ralphie felt. I finally got my manuscript for Murder on Ceres to the point that I feel comfortable forwarding it to people who have graciously volunteered to be beta readers.
     The whole point of the movie is that our hero, a nine-year-old boy, wants a Red Ryder B-B gun for Christmas. All the grown-ups in his life tell him he can't have one because he'll shoot his eye out. Then his teacher gives his class a writing assignment -- "What I Want for Christmas." He works diligently on his paper explaining his fondest hope and desire. All he wants is that B-B gun.
     He turns in his paper imagining how Miss Shields, his teacher will appreciate his theme above all others in the class. She will write A++++ all around the room.
     And I'm imagining the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, a good word in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, a recommendation from the Oprah Book Club -- something wildly enthusiastic and impressive.
     Poor Ralphie. He gets his paper back and his illusions of grandeur crumple around him. Siding with his mother Miss Shields says, "You'll shoot your eye out."
Ralphie's Mom and Miss Shields
     I am a grown woman and I know I'm not likely to shoot my eye out. Certainly not with a manuscript. But . . .  shoot myself in the foot. Now that's a possibility.