Monday, April 13, 2015

A to Z Challenge: K is for Kristin

K is for Kristin.

Kristin Hill, aviation artist and good friend of mine, learned a valuable lesson about perseverance—and gave me inspiration to tackle a daunting rewrite.

Kristin was privileged to fly in a U-2 spy plane, reaching the edge of the earth’s atmosphere. As an aviation artist it was her responsibility to represent this event on canvas. She entered the painting in several aviation art competitions only to have it rejected several years in a row. She was devastated. It meant so much to her to have this experience, then to have the painting rejected was so difficult to handle. 

 Her mentor finally pulled her aside and told her the painting would continue to be rejected because it had a major perspective problem. He showed her mathematically through a carefully constructed PowerPoint presentation why the composition was flawed—the angle of the plane was off enough to make the painting seem unsettling to the viewer. She had missed this in the drawing stages, but could now see clearly the mistake she had made.

 Her mentor was pleased, but not finished with her—he challenged her to start over, redo the painting from a blank canvas, then give a presentation on this very problem and how she solved it, in order to help other artists overcome the same kinds of mistakes. It was a daunting task, with major time constraints to deal with, but she did it bravely and graciously. Not only was the painting accepted in the next exhibition, but it won a significant prize. Everyone applauded her for her willingness to re-work the painting. When they saw the before and after, side by side, they could see the obvious change.

At the time this was happening, I had gotten several critiques back from my work in progress. In review, I realized I needed a giant overhaul of my manuscript to salvage my story. I had to narrow down point of view characters, change the age of my main characters, and really pay attention to showing vs. telling. It would require months of work. But after seeing what Kristin could do, I knew it was the right thing for me as well. She was my inspiration. I named the new file Kristin. Each time I opened it to work on it, I thought of her and her success.

We should all have a Kristin in our lives to help push us on!

1 comment:

  1. That's inspiring! We all hate to realize that we need to do major work on a MS, but sometimes it has to be done. I'm gradually learning to plan more, which helps avoid the really big issues. But the shock of that editorial feedback never goes away. The key is to take a deep breath, a long walk, and whatever else it takes to look at it clearly and go to work.
    Rebecca at The Ninja Librarian


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