I'm almost ready to shut up about this. Almost. But my critique sheets came in the mail yesterday, and this year they actually show your score in numbers. One of my two readers gave me a perfect freaking score, one hundred out of a possible one hundred.
How do I describe the feeling of finding a reader who loves your book exactly the way you want it to be loved? It's like a kind of intimacy - is that the right word? - that I didn't even know existed. It's like the way it must feel to shoot a quiverfull of arrows and hit the bullseye with every last one. It's a deeper, truer satisfaction even than being told you're a finalist.
Last year this same MS failed to final, and the critique sheets, while initially painful to read, proved in the end to be invaluable, particularly the harsher one. I wish I could track that person down and thank her. (I assume it's a she - can't imagine too many men sign up to judge in the Romance category.) I wish I could get in a critique group with her. She really made me take a good hard look at my plot and pacing, and thank goodness for it.