I remember times in my childhood when my mother would describe someone, often one of the airmen she supervised, as a “diamond in the rough.” By this she usually meant that the person she was referring to, while lacking in education or polished social skills, had great potential for learning and success. She had great admiration for these people, perhaps because she saw herself as one of them. With only two years of college, which she had struggled to earn the money for herself, she rose to a management position in the fifties and sixties in the male dominated world of the Air Force civil service.
I also remember pictures of her from management trainings she attended, a lone 5′ 3″ blond women amidst the men in suits and and the officers in uniforms. How did she succeed when so few women did at the time? This daughter of immigrants, who spoke no English when she entered school but who earned medals for school achievement in high school, had many gifts: a phenomenally strong work ethic and drive to succeed, an interest in bettering herself, a passion for reading and learning, and a real ability to make friends because she so genuinely cared about others. She didn’t have an easy life and she wasn’t always sweetness and light, a lot like Baba Zosia in my book. And she herself often questioned why these were her gifts instead of a happy marriage and a stay at home existence. But then she was a “rough diamond,” multi-faceted in odd, interesting, quirky, off-beat ways.
So what has this to do with writing? As I finish the penultimate revision of my book with all the feedback I have gotten from my critic readers, I now realize that despite the accomplishment of writing and editing to a review draft version, that draft was also a “rough cut.” Despite all the feedback from my writing partner, or the polishing and rewrites I did, or how bright and shiny I thought it was, there were many rough edges that my readers have pointed out. So one more time I am chipping out a word, dropping a line, revising another, moving a paragraph, realigning the facets, polishing, polishing and polishing. Hopefully I am creating out of my ‘rough diamond’ a sparkling brilliant cut work that will make readers fall in love with the characters, pull them into the plot, make them hold their breath through the climax, stay up late to finish and eagerly await Book Two. Like my mom I am working hard and caring deeply about my book achieving its potential. Stay tuned to see how well The Call succeeds.