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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Blood, Sweat and Hair Pulling Required



It's IWSG Day.  The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. The brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, our brilliant ninja leader.  To read other members, click here.

Its ready when its ready.

Since January, when I sent my not-so-current project out to be critiqued by an author/editor I know, I’ve tried to embrace that slogan. Why? Because it’s true. The woman who read my book identified many positives and offered so much encouragement. She also pointed to a boatload of issues, many of them obvious once they were brought to my attention. Eliminate slow moving chapters and one point of view. Ratchet up the action. Develop new scenes. Give one of the POV characters more of an arc.

You betcha it was daunting. At first, I wondered if I could do it all, but once I got to work, everything made sense. That said, it’s the first week in April and I’m still plugging away. Oh, how I wish I was done and could get back to the evolving draft of what I consider my “current” project, on hold now so I can concentrate on this editing exercise.

But my focus needs to be on the editing, the continuing improvements, even though I’m itching to call this story done and start querying it again. But I won’t yet, because while the thing is miles better than it was, there’s still work to be done, including one scene the editor didn’t touch, that’s been niggling at me. I’ve been asking myself, is that really how it would have happened? Finally, a voice in my head spoke up. Nope. I’ve done so much work repairing the rest of the book, it would be foolish not to correct that part, too. I owe it to myself.

What’s my point? Maybe its presumptuous of me to think I know anything, since I’m still trying to publish my first novel, but here’s my take. If you have one iota of thought that your book isn’t as perfect as it can be, don’t waste it by querying too early. If you haven’t already, send it to an objective, knowing reader or editor, and be prepared to put the time in to make recommended changes.

For me, it all comes down to this. What do I want to be known for? Publishing a book, or for publishing a good book?

16 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think that is very wise advice! It's so easy to think that it's really close or good enough. No, it needs to be right. You'll thank yourself later for fixing all of that now.

Jan Morrison said...

Excellent post! I thought I had a novel ready a couple of years ago. So I tried a couple of things - nope, not ready. I took a workshop in October of 2014, met the teacher and realized he was the one to mentor me through a revision. Luckily he agreed. I started sending it out eight months ago. I've received one very complimentary rejection and one request for a full followed by another complimentary rejection. I just sent out two new query packages. I too want to work on my current ms and I will, but I still need to attend to the not fully hatched one. Keep it up!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Love this - "For me, it all comes down to this. What do I want to be known for? Publishing a book, or for publishing a good book?"
Thanks for the reminder to not rush our art, our craft! :)

Arlee Bird said...

Lots of people have published books. Publishing a good book is what I'd prefer to do. Publishing a good book that sells a lot of copies would be the ultimate dream fulfilled.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

cleemckenzie said...

I am in your corner. Please publish a good book.

Joanne said...

Excellent advice. It is too easy to be sloppy. Be proud of your slog. You will be so happy and proud of the final product. The quality and care will cheer your readers. Keep on and happy April!!

I.B. Nosey said...

I know what you mean about all of that hard work. It can be daunting sometimes.

But you're right too in that you want to publish a GOOD book. That gives us the incentive to "plug" away. :)

Connie said...

This is sound advice. It will be well worth the extra effort to make the manuscript as polished as it can be.

Julie Flanders said...

Great advice and I have no doubt that you will success in publishing a GOOD book. Good luck with your editing!

Chris Votey said...

It's good that you have that mentality, and it will take you far, but then there is a danger to this thinking. A writer is never truly done with a book. There is always something to edit, someone always to change, something to modify in a belief it will be more perfect. Sometime, you have to tell yourself that it is fine how it is, and to move forward. It's a tough decision however, to know when to give it more editing, or to publish it. Thus the hair pulling.

Cherie Colyer said...

Great advice. I love receiving feedback and having comments to reference when I revise. It's easier for others to see what is or isn't working. It's also easier to revise if you know what needs work.

Tyrean Martinson said...

That's so true. I rushed a few of my books and I wish I hadn't. However, for me, I have to move forward and make the current project the best book it can be. If I wallow in my mistakes, then I can't write.

It sounds like you are making some great decisions for your book. Keep on swimming/writing/editing. :)

Karen Lynn said...

I think this is a very good way of thinking about it. I'm like you... I'd rather publish a good book than just a book.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Very smart advice. It's taking me longer to get to the point of publishing my first book, but hopefully that means it will be a good book and not just something I published just to get it published.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's that little extra time you spend on it that will make the difference between a good story and a great story.

Patsy said...

It's very tempting to send work out too soon. I know, because I've done it. Much better to wait until it really is as good as we can get it.