Wednesday, October 13, 2010


...I'm only a month or three late getting this knocked out, but was finally able to pen the acknowledgment for "Charm." It's getting posted in hopes of receiving critiques and insight before I ship it to David.

:The thing about writing a story of significant length that some fail to consider, is that one must be comfortable in their solitude in order to succeed. Penning the next Pulitzer while changing Junior's diapers in one hand, and programming that new Blackberry with the other, more times than not, breeds disappointment. Despite being surrounded with such modern conveniences as high-speed internet, and GPS directions with the push of a button, when writing, there's simply no substitute for peace and quiet.

Which was why, shortly following the collapse of our economy, when the career I'd grudgingly stumbled upon, reared its ugly head and offered me a set of fangs, it was my wife who set me on course.

She sat me down in front of the computer and said, "It's time. Write the book."

In the second Rocky movie, the one where Balboa's maimed form somehow manages to find a second's worth of equilibrium as the referee finishes his ten-count, thus securing the heavyweight championship, there's an earlier scene I thought of while offering my wife a nod, my heart's pace quickening.

Long story short, when Rocky's wife, Adrian, drifts into a coma following the birth of their son, then awakens several days later and stares into her husband's eyes with a gleam very unlike Talia Shire's character, Rocky asks her if she would prefer him to retire rather than fight Apollo Creed.

From her hospital bed, newborn baby cradled in her arms, Adrian says, "There's one thing I want you to do for me."

Rocky asks, "What's that?"

"Win," she says. "Win!"

Despite sharing duties in the upbringing of our children, while generating enough funds to maintain a thumbs up from our creditors, I completed the book. But not without help. For there is no novel on earth where the writer can take sole credit.

I would like to thank Pam Vogt and Sandy Clifton for their thoughts and continued support throughout the reading and editing process. To the staff at The Wooster Book Company for their undying loyalty. To David Wiesenberg, whose tutoring and creative insight can only be described as priceless. I fear the thought of undergoing such a task without him by my side. A special shout out to my internet colleagues and the readers of my blog, whose critiques and support have been an overwhelming gesture. A nationwide family of writers, each of us holding hands and striving forward, one word at a time. To my children, whose many ideas on the life of Danny Kaufman I often encouraged, for who could possibly know the mindset of a ten year old boy more than a kid of the same age? My oldest son has requested the first copy. I'm more than happy to abide.

And of course to my wife, whose patience throughout the writing of "Charm" was an effort surpassing any favor I've ever asked of her. For the only job more frustrating than that of a writer, may in fact be a writer's significant other. I'm forever grateful...

"South of Charm" has been edited a fourth time, trimmed down a bit, its waistline now a bit roomier. I'm anxious to move forward, but hesitant of the final product. Is it ready? How does anyone ever know for sure?

These are questions I asked David, my editor. His response was simple. "When a story reads the way life travels...sometimes smooth, often a bit rough, at times twisting and winding with an unknowing future around the bend...then you've got it. Then it's ready."

I finished reading it again. This was the seventh or eighth time. There'll be at least one more. It's close. So close, but...

Thanks for reading,
EL :)


Lola Sharp said...

Awww. I love this post, Elliot. Love how you used your blog title at the end of your post. Nice touch. :)
And I love your acknowledgement. (Betting your wife will/does too.) If your publisher will let you have that much space/word count, than I say let 'er rip. It's heartfelt and funny. My only 'critique' is you have a couple of long sentences that would probably have more weight if you broke it up into a couple sentences.
The second paragraph (one long sentence) is an example. But overall, I love it.

Let me know when you need me to pimp your novel. (do you have a release date?) Maybe you've already told me...I've been lost in heavy revisions and unplugged. My brain has turned into green zombie mush.

CONGRATS again, EL! ☆ I'm excited for you. :)

L'Aussie said...

A lot of angst here. Must be tough at this stage of publishing. These days there's always typos and even at times some murky editing, so I wouldn't worry too much. I don't think editores are are painstaking as they once were, but maybe that's just some.

Congratulations on sitting down, writing, finishing and rewriting your book..:)

The Words Crafter said...

That's the best acknowledgement I think I've ever read. And not just because you mentioned your blogging buddies.

Well done and congratulations and good luck!!!!! Wow!

Joanna St. James said...

Congratulations, I don't know if you lknow talli Roland but the two of you are in the same boat right now. i cant wait to be in your shoes.

rama said...


Roland D. Yeomans said...

Your acknowledgement is yours. Period. Do with it what you will. Only your friends and loved ones will read it (and they already know how you feel about them.)

Raymond Chandler's one big regret about acknowledgements was that he never felt any of his book were worthy of his wife ... so he never dedicated one to her.

I'm glad you weren't like Raymond. No book will, of course, be worthy of your wife. But her belief in you deserves recognition, and you did it in style.

Judy Croome said...

Great news and well done on finishing! There's no better feeling in the world! :)

Donna Hole said...

So close but . .

That says it all. It appears you are more than close Elliot. Soon, you will have to change the name of your blog :)

Congratulations on the finish. It is an amazing accomplishment.


Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

I think it was lovely, and if it was from your heart, than it will never be wrong.

Misha said...

Congrats on finishing!

I think it's so sweet that you took the time to thank everyone that helped you.

Best of luck!

Piedmont Writer said...

Elliot, as this moves closer and closer to publication, my goosebumps are getting bigger and bigger.

I think once you get to write the acknowledgement page, that makes the journey so real. I'm so happy for you.

The Golden Eagle said...

Congrats on finishing the acknowledgements!

Sondrae Bennett said...

Some poetic words of inspiration from your editor. Congrats!

Jemi Fraser said...

I love it Elliott! Your heart shines through. I smiled and nodded the whole way through!

One small suggestion - I wonder if oblige might work better than abide in the paragraph about giving your son the first copy.

Love it!

Elliot Grace said...

I knew I could count on you guys:)
Thanks so much for reading and your input. Not sure if they'll tweak it some, perhaps trim it a bit for spacing, but in any sense, thanks again!

Talli Roland said...

I love your editor's advice - so true! I'm hoping I'll know when mine's ready... almost there!

Good luck!

JUST ME said...

Thanking your wife will get you very far in life, as I'm sure you know...


DEZMOND said...

"It's time. Write the book."

I love how your wife is decisive :))

RaShelle said...

I always read acknowledgements. Maybe it's because I know I'm going to be writing them, but then I always did, even before I KNEW this was MY THING. I love yours! It's beautiful Elliot. =D

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Elliot, your acknowlegement is beautiful and eloquent. And touching. I love it. And I love that you're so close.

But nothing! :)

~that rebel, Olivia

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I just wanted to say that I'm sorry my story made you late for your son's game.

I really do appreciate each comment you make. My latest post is a challenge to write a flash fiction with no supernatural elements : only an ordinary person enjoying love and laughter with no moral implications.

I almost did it all. Sigh. For me, true happiness is tethered in some way to moral implications, Roland

Nicki Elson said...

Hi Elliot. I'm so interested in learning more about your book. Only a matter of months ago I was in the middle of "production" as you are now and feeling overwhelmed w/ all the nitty gritty. But this phase will be over before you know it and then it's time to let go and send it out into the world. You'll be able to, trust me.

That's a lovely and heartfelt acknowledgment. In my opinion, an acknowledgment is an author's indulgence and you should get to do what you want with it. Being an editor as well as a writer, my guess is that it might get trimmed back a bit, but I'm so happy you shared it with us in its entirety. It's so very nice to meet you.

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