One Edit At a Time: Manuscript Finally Ready

ups and downs goals plans

Slowly, tortuously, ecstatically, indifferently. So many emotions swamp me when I think of the fifth edit of my manuscript, finally ready to find a home with a publisher.

I alluded to this in a previous post, but once you finish the first ever manuscript, you are delighted and the clouds just about part…before rapidly resuming their positions. That was the only real moment I thought I’d achieved anything of significance. Ever since then, I have been editing, re-editing and editing some more. Then came the beta readers. Of the five I sent my story to, only two got back to me having read the story, and every writer will tell you having that feedback is invaluable. My manuscript was pretty much ready to go, but they highlighted chronological issues, thematic grammar mistakes (possessive/genitive), and told me what they thought was missing, again allowing me to add a few more touches to tighten it up. Whether it is one brilliant reader or several, get beta readers.

As far as advice, all I can really offer is to write, and write, every day. Like you haven’t heard that before. Some days I battered out 3000 words, other days the chair and myself began to share DNA, pushing 8-10k. But each day I had a target of 3000 minimum. If I felt lazy, I’d have that little voice in my head reminding me that I was shirking work.

Once you have the first draft done, keep in mind you will be editing at least three more times. Factor that into your goals. It can also seem daunting and make the actual first draft intimidating. ‘Oh what? I write this masterpiece and then have to edit it over and over again?’ Just focus on the story at hand, the rest will take care of itself.

Well, my short stories have fallen off a little due to my editing time, and I’ll be lining up literary agents by Wednesday. The work never stops to get your book out there.

A final note: I decided against self-publishing, despite the larger royalties, creative control etc. as I feel my manuscript will do well in paperback. We shall see how it all goes. I know I’d regret not going the traditional publishing route in the future irrespective of how it turns out.

 

lion around 2

33 Comments

  1. Congratulations, Lion. You’ve hung in there and accomplished what few writers do–actually finishing their book.
    As for the editing process, you may already know about this site: http://www.grammarly.com. It has been a valuable tool for me, and it is FREE. Also, there’s an app called Voice Dream that you can upload your writing to via Dropbox, and it will read it back to you…saves the vocal cords, and I have caught a lot of errors using it.
    Best of luck to you; you’re about to embark on the roughest patch of road on your journey to publication.

  2. Best of luck. I decided long ago against self publishing. I don’t want to sit on my blog selling my work for 99 cents and whining about the harsh realities about self publishing. You are a young, talented writer. Persistence is the key. Continue writing. Continue querying. Good luck.

  3. You certainly put the hours in! You deserve to get a deal through hard work and persistence alone. Luckily, you’re also a great writer. Hope you nail it.
    And if you ever want another beta reader, I’ll give it a go πŸ™‚

  4. Congrats, and I wish you the best of luck with agent hunting – in my experience, that’s even more annoying than editing (by far), so hang in there πŸ™‚

      1. You owe me nothing, mate – especially as I’ll most likely ask whether you have the time to beta read my third book when it’s done πŸ˜€

      2. In about two to three months, I hope. My daily word count is nowhere nearly as impressive as yours, I’m afraid, especially because I’m also in the process of composing and recording the tracks that are supposed to go with the third novel, so… Oh, OK, OK, I admit it, sometimes I can be too lazy or preoccupied with twiddling my thumbs to go past 1000 words per day. πŸ˜›

  5. Congratulations on getting it to that stage! This is such a great post and I agree wholeheartedly. A few weeks ago I finished my third manuscript and after I congratulated myself on being the most brilliant writer that ever existed I put it away. Today is my first edit, it’s not going well…

  6. I feel your pain, my friend. After the second or third edit, my brain turns mush and I wouldn’t know it if somebody switched out my manuscript with a phone book. I respect that you’re going the agent/publisher route. Given the state of the industry and the advances in self publishing, it’s definitely a tough choice. Me, I went with self publishing. Whether that’s due to a lack of confidence or simply impatience, I’m not sure.

    1. Lol at phonebook. That about sums it up though, just swimming in words.
      It was a close call between selfpub and traditional. Who knows I may regret it, and ultimately if nothing happens I will selfpub so thats plan b for now.

      1. You won’t have a reason to regret anything either way: if you don’t find an agent, you can always go the other way later. At least this way you’ll have given it a shot, which is the way to go, in my opinion.

  7. Wow, well done! Congrats on getting it all finished and edited, that must be a fantastic feeling πŸ˜„ Your daily word counts seem to have reached lofty heights indeed! I really hope everything goes as smoothly as possible with your choice of publishers.

  8. Love the visuals! I’m no fan of revision, it’s just too brutal and yet I have to do it. Ugh. Nice post and thanks for reading, commenting and liking one of my poems. I appreciate it.

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