In which I redraft …

I know it’s a common thing for a writer to hear: “It’s just not quite ready yet”, and I know that, in a lot of ways, it’s a good thing to hear, because it means the person telling you that thinks that a) It’s not horrible, and b) It has the potential to be ready.
But it still stings. A little bit. At first. Even if they say it really nicely.
But then, usually (in my case at least), you go home and you read the MS again and you think “Jeepers creepers! What was I even thinking? ZOMG. Fail!” and you become insanely, intensely grateful to the person who told you it wasn’t ready because a) They were, really, being nicer than they needed to be and b) You now have the opportunity (and, hopefully, if the person gave you a tidbit of editorial advice, the tools), to make it ready. Or, even better, to make it awesome.
This exact thing happened to me about a week ago. And, at first, I was gutted. I rang the Husband Bear and I told him I was quitting writing and I was going to go back to being a librarian because I was crap and was never going to be successful. I may have said all of this in a whiney voice. While crying. In the middle of the Melbourne CBD.
Thankfully, I have the sort of Husband Bear who knows when I am being ridiculous (most of the time), and tells me so. He basically told me to harden the frak up, grow some balls and just get on with redrafting it. So I did (get on with it, not grow some … oh, I’m just going to leave that one right there).
Now, a week later, my MS is 8,000 words longer – which gives the characters much more room to move. My villain is more three-dimensional and less stereotyped. My twist is an actual twist instead of being telegraphed right from the very beginning. My romance is more realistic. Now, I am in the process of making my Grandma less stiff and conservative and horrid (or, at least, give her a reason for being so and the opportunity for redemption). Once I have done that, well, I will just go back to the beginning and start reading again. 
Because I want this MS to be ready. I want it to be wonderful. And because I want to have balls. I don’t want to be the sort of writer who gives up at the first hurdle. I want to prove to people that I can do the hard yards. Wish me luck?

6 thoughts on “In which I redraft …

  1. Hi Penni,Sorry, it was a dad-and-daughter trip (and he had it packed with things to do). Next time, I promise! Am glad to hear you need to edit as well. I kind of think famous writers like you mustn't have to!

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  2. You were in Melbourne and you didn't arrange to meet for coffee? Shame on you.I am on my fifth structural edit (I think, I sort of lost count) for my current WIP. Can't quite conceive yet of the copyedit process. I always have at least one or two structural rounds.

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  3. Totally agree with Gerry – my MS came back three times for the first and four for the second (you would have thought I would have learnt from the first time…

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  4. Thank you for your awesome comment, Gerry (can't believe Gerry Bobsien commented on my blog – arrrggghhh). I also am lucky enough to have awesome people reading my stuff. I just want to make them proud of me!

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  5. Damn! I just wrote a comment and tried to edit it and then google had a little tanty and deleted it – now that's a bit if editing bad luck. So Here goes again. My MS came back about six times, back and forth back and forth…I got really paranoid thinking I was crap and asked my ed if I was a "high maintenance writer." she laughed and said they pay a LOT of attention to their manuscripts. Sooo I don't reckon you need luck – just patience (I have none of this). Having said that I really enjoyed the ed process and my writing has improved and I feel a bit more confident about what I'm doing as a result. PS It also helps to have an in-house 14 year old editor at my disposal (she completely trashed one of my scenes today).

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