One of the major things you learn (or had better learn) is that your manuscript is not sacred. It’s not some musty artifact or a weathered tome guarded in a bank vault. It’s alive, in point of fact, and there are other people out there who will have a say in how it turns out.
I can already hear you screaming: “No! It’s mine!” and I’m not going to argue with you. It is yours, but if you want it to be published, if you want it to be better? You’d better come to terms with the fact that other people are going to be touching your precious.
A good author knows the value of picking battles. To get published, your book will go through the hands of a lot of other people. People who have ideas, tweaks, adjustments, and fixes to your novel. You’ll have to learn to graciously say: “Absolutely.” And you’ll have to learn to take a stand and explain why you can’t change something on page 4 because it impacts the big reveal at page 440.
I’m currently in the midst of a major revision of my latest project. Not because I actually have to, but because after getting a (rare) detailed rejection letter I realized that the revision would make the book that much better. It would make my heroine kick-ass a little more. It would make the world even more alive. It would make the action explode.
It required I pull a plot thread. One that unraveled pretty much ALL of my work until I was left with the story I wanted to tell and some remnants I’m hoping to work back in.
And it’s slow going. When I first wrote this manuscript – that’s all I had to concentrate on. Now I have a new day job, a new house, and a lifestyle that’s more social and engaging than when I was just writing. *laughs* Be careful what you wish for. *winks*
I’m good though. I’m working out about 1,000 words a day on the weekdays and shooting for twice that on the weekends. I’m about a third of the way through and keeping an eye on the changes that need to be made so I don’t get lost in the retelling. I’m loving my heroine. She’s stronger, a little more violent maybe *grins* but she was a gunrunner after all so it’s to be expected, most of all she’s stepping up to the plate like I knew she could.
A writer might be the soul of her book, but agents and editors (and all the other people who make it work) are the blood and breath. They make your book come alive because it’s what they do for a living. It’s okay to rant – privately – when you first get those suggestions. But then you need to go workout, hit the punching bag, vent to a friend. Then, sit down and consider what they’re suggesting. Look at it with a critical eye, acknowledge your own faults and the faults of the story (Because you know they’re there, every story has them.) and get to work on making your writing better.
A friend of mine on FB, posted this quote the other day: ”If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” I’m still looking for the originator of the quote, but I thought I’d share it anyway because it applies as much to writing as anything else in my life. This current manuscript is important to me, so I’m going to find a way to make it better.