Celebrating lots of good things this week:

(1) A printout: I’ve finally finished the second draft of my WIP! I can already think of some changes I want to make, but I’m so relieved to have made it through this round. The new draft is 80,000 words — 5000 words shorter than the first draft, but with stronger character arcs and a simpler, more dramatic plotline. (At least I hope that’s what I’ve done… we’ll see in the read-through.)

(2) An inspiring letter: Just as I was finishing that draft, I learned that the first chapters had earned a Letter of Merit from the SCBWI WIP Grants Committee. This amazed me, and made me so very happy. Thanks so much to everyone who sent congratulations!

This manuscript is a new departure for me — historical fantasy rather than straight historical fiction — and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night wondering, “What was I *thinking*?” I hope I’ll sleep better now.

(3) Writerly get-togethers: Thanks to ice-packs, back exercises, and a very supportive husband, I managed to get to two great parties in my neighborhood this week. The first was for the ever-kind and super-smart kmessner, who gave a wonderful talk at Newtonville Books this week. Her new book, The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z., has a cover that makes me smile every time I see it, and her reading had the audience laughing out loud.

The other party was the first ever Boston Kidlit Pie Night. Although I passed on the marvelous pies (key lime! lemon meringue! chocolate cream!), my double-chocolate cookie was scrumptious, and so was the company. Writers jammed the cafe wall-to-wall, and I had great conversations about everything from book publicity to MFA programs to the Beth’s death in Little Women. I also heard about many wonderful works-in-progress and met many up-and-coming young writers — half of whom seemed to have taken a class or a workshop from the amazing jbknowles!

Whew! I’m all tuckered out now. But it was wonderful to be able to go into the wide world again, even just a little bit, after weeks spent at home recuperating.