There is a question that every writer asks. How do I know when it is ready?
I have asked myself this question a million times . Every time I write a new story, I go through the whole process – I write, I revise, I revise again, I send to my critique group, I revise, I send to more critique partners, I revise, and revise, and revise.
I get to the point where I think it is ready, then I revise again.
I return to it a month later, and I revise.
Every step along the way I am confident it is in the best shape it can be, then I change my mind and rework, rewrite, revise.
With my latest manuscript things are different. I know this one is ready. I read it through and I am proud of every word.
Why is this time different? I’ve been confident with many of my other stories. I, in fact, love my other stories and am confident they are sellable, but this time something was different.
I’ve been working on this story for a year and a half. It started out as an experiment in sounds. There was no story, just voices and sounds. Then it started coming together. Characters appeared. They needed a plot, I gave them one. I was on my way. I loved what I had so far. In fact, I thought it was ready. (But I didn’t really.) Then I showed it to one more person. Their advice was what was hiding in the back of my head from the beginning.
I decided my darlings needed to die. I completely rewrote the manuscript. I didn’t like it. So I completely rewrote it again – in rhyme! I haven’t written in rhyme in a very long time. This time everything felt right.
The point is, you know. I loved what I had written,
- but I wasn’t submitting it,
- but I continued to show it to critique partners,
- but I continued to tinker with every word,
- but something nagged at the back of my head.
NO MORE BUTS.
I know now what it feels like when it is ready.