Thursday, 28 April 2016

When is a manuscript ready to send out?

[This short article first appeared as part of the online launch of The Writers' Toolkit which remains available on Facebook and contains articles, tips, mini-tutorials and editorial comments on work that authors submitted for critique prior to the launch

The Danuta referred to below is Danuta Reah, co-author of The Writers' Toolkit.
Dyane is one of the authors who submitted work to the event]

When is a manuscript ready to send out?
Danuta is spot on in her answer to Dyane’s general writing question. There will always be things that could be changed. And there will always be readers who don't like the book. That's fiction. In the history of the world there is no universally liked work of fiction. You certainly shouldn't try to please everyone because you can't.

Agents tend to say 'Get it perfect' or (more realistically) 'as close to perfect as you can'. There's a lot in that. Some things you can do mechanically, like spelling, layout, proofreading for typos, quote marks in the right places etc. Building the story into a compelling read is what you do over a long apprenticeship. 

All ‘overnight success’ stories happened after a lot of hard work (the occasional ghost-written celebrity memoire excepted). 

You learn to find your writing voice. I had found several voices and was in discussion with a publisher, doing rewrites on one of my novels, when a completely different book suddenly took off – totally unexpectedly and from the back of a cupboard – and I was back into a different writing voice; one that I thought would never see the light of day. My first published novel was rewritten from scratch many times. I genuinely can’t remember how many. If I’d known then what I know now, I’d have had an easier time of it.

I’ve tried to write down what helped me to publication. All those ideas, people, techniques that I used along the way are summarised on my website. The Writers’ Toolkit is a part of this – a more detailed explanation of the specific techniques that not only helped me to learn to write but that I also use now.

The discussion continues in the comments thread following the original article.
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