It’s strange this writing thing. You work at your first draft and when it’s complete the sense of achievement is fantastic! You leave it for a couple of months then come back and re-read it.
The sinking feeling in your stomach is not fun. Cause guess what? It’s really not that good… It’s one of those moments when you truly understand how it must feel to be a contestant on American idol, sing in front of those scary, awe-inspiring judges and then get that verdict.
Oh it stings! And the flush of embarrassment when you recall begging people to read it.. How did they do it? So you settle down, red pen in hand and circle every thing wrong in it. You begrudgingly admit there’s the odd good scene or sentence. Other than that there is LOTS of red on the manuscript. So you begin the thing known as re-writing.
At first it’s horrendous.
Absolutely impossible! The ‘silly’ voice in your mind declares.
Your ‘rational’ voice however is a lot calmer. It points out that if you’ve managed to write 117,000 words then surely you can re-arrange a few.
You give it a shot and are pleasantly surprised. It’s not as bad as you first anticipated. The first re-write is hard and you motor on through it. Ignoring the odd sentence or two that annoys you. Then you repeat the original process, leave for a month or two and re-read.
The verdict? It’s better. But not great. Not yet.
This process continues again and again with various beta readers/critiques thrown into the mess. It’s during this process that you will begin to recognize ‘your’ voice.
This is a momentous thing.
It means that you can really make use of critiques and recognize where suggestions aren’t correct. Cause lets face it a critique is just one persons POV and no matter how fabulous/well trained/learned that person is, not all of their suggestions will be relevant. That said when you get five critiques all mentioning the same thing you want to seriously consider the issue. I did. And ended up re-writing 100+ pages. And I mean fully re-writing.
Now at the end of my eight re-write and almost at the end of my first thorough edit I’m getting major butterflies.
Because I really like it…
Now I just have to hand it over to four people for critiques and I’m soooo nervous! I feel like I did the first time.. So I’ll hit the send button, take a deep breath in and out, then work on my cover to distract myself *gulp*