I’ve been writing for over thirty years and still get nervous when I turn in a manuscript. Have I succeeded in bring the characters to life? Will the story comfort, encourage, challenge readers? Is there any “take away” value?
While waiting, I tend to go into a reading frenzy, enjoying the books I’ve been stacking up on my TBRP (to be read pile), two shelves full, one of fiction, one of non-fiction. Over the past few weeks, I’ve read six books and two manuscripts, all very well-written. I’m thankful to live in a Golden Age of publishing with a plethora of genres and excellent writers, on and off-line. I am an old fashioned “girl” who still likes to have a book in hand, not on an iPad or Kindle. There’s something about the scent of a real book, the feel as I turn a page, the weight of someone’s work in my hands.
Meanwhile, agent, associate, senior editor, editor and others are reading my most recent attempt at storytelling/showing. I know the storyline isn’t new. It’s probably been written by numerous writers numerous times over numerous years. I recognize storylines as I read, and can categorize them. Frankly, even the most often used never get old.
But what about my manuscript? Is it going to stink like the skunk that wanders through the woods behind our house? Is it going to sink like a body with cement shoes? Is it going to end up like one of those mines from World War II, chained underwater and waiting to blow up at the first touch?
Of course, I know there will be more work to be done. The last manuscript was so long, it ended up being two books instead of one, and this after my editor cut 40,000 words – and that after I had deleted chunks on my own. I had one scene in which a main character went through her garage pantry, noticing how much she had stocked (from Costco). Thankfully, the readers were spared that! My agent and I laugh about it now.
I got the heads up call over a week ago. First part is slow. Another heads up call. The manuscript will need some serious cutting. No big surprise. There are other places that beg for more. Oh, goodie. I love to add. Writing more is never a problem.
I’m sure there are writers out there who turn in a manuscript and it’s perfect as is, no editing needed. I’m not one of them. I’m still an apprentice. I will always be an apprentice. Thankfully, I have been blessed to have a team of well-read, well-trained people willing and able to come along side me and help me make it the story I long for it to be.