The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. You can join in with your own post and sign up here, or just go to the list and hop around, seeing what other gems people have posted, or go to our awesome co-hosts for October: Beverly Stowe McClure, Megan Morgan, Viola Fury, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Angela Wooldridge, and Susan Gourley!
You may find many people are using the prompt for the month – How do you know when your story is ready?
Good question, and the answer probably displays the degree of your insecurity as a writer – or maybe your experience.
In my innocence, I thought the story was finished when I wrote it and edited it, and it was as good as I could make it, so I published it. Then I realised that some of the comments people made were very wise, and the book needed editing to clarify some parts, so I changed it. Then I got beta readers as well as editors, and things have been working well for some time.
Recently I’ve had the experience where that hasn’t worked so well, and I have a book which has been revised again, and went to another editor, to see whether it’s up to scratch. In fact when I sent her the copy to decide whether she would take it on, I said “or whether it should really be consigned to the rubbish tip.” After her comments I’m seriously thinking of the rubbish tip.
But this is nothing unusual, really. I was at the Noirwich Festival of Crime Writing in mid-September, and these fabulous traditionally-published authors all made comments about sending their perfect book to their editors and getting all the plot-holes, non sequiteurs, and badly formed characters brought to their attention. That’s why we have editors. I find it deeply depressing that I can’t seem to sort out my books before I send it to them, but still… And I know many writers say there are things they would change if they rewrote their book a few years later.
There’s a great guest post on The Ninja Librarian from author Leslie Nagel, that shows what she went through – if you haven’t seen it – check it out. It’s given me a bit more hope than I had.
Of course one of the reasons for wanting to change our books is because we’ve grown, learnt, and improved our skills. But sometimes you just need to stop and move on. Finish it. Yes, improve it according to the guidance or prompts you receive from your professionals. But when you decide to let it go, let it go.
It’s your little baby, finally ready to leave home and go to college, or get married or whatever…
Let it fly free.
Unless it really needs remedial work.
Is there anyone out there who would beta read a science fiction book for me? Leave a note in the comments, if so. Although at the moment I’m near the point of giving up on it.
It’s #Inktober, and I’m doing daily pen and ink sketches – chapter illustrations for the forthcoming book 7 in the Princelings series, Willoughby the Narrator. See them on the Princelings Facebook page, Twitter, or my new Pinterest board for Inktober.
Here’s yesterday’s. It needs a little tidying before it goes in the book.