Monday, January 24, 2011

The End?

More like just the beginning!
As the first month of 2011 creeps toward its end, so does my very first full length manuscript.
I don’t know if it’s the cold weather making me sluggish, the short days making me want to hibernate, or just the urge to snuggle up on the recliner with a hot cup of cocoa, but I cannot make myself feel productive or accomplished over "The End."   Mostly, it’s because I know there is still so much work to do.  I feel like I’m creating a meal and while I’ve got the meat and potatoes cooked, I still have to fix several side dishes, a salad, and a dessert. And don’t forget about the wine! 
I thought I'd take this opportunity to share some wisdom from writers who have been down this road before.  The following steps are what comes after you’ve reached “The End” or as I like to call it "The End of Round 1":
Step One:  After you've celebrated and taken a breather, Rewrite and Edit your MS until you can barely stand the sight of it anymore.
Step Two: Give it to your beta reader(s) to make sure it makes sense and you haven’t done something like have a pair of magically disappearing and reappearing shoes, but you're not writing paranormal. :)  (Yes, I’ve done that and it still cracks me up to this very day.)
Step Three: Edit again, fixing things like magic shoes or disappearing characters, etc. OR that entire scene that leaves your reader with a confused puppy look.
Step Four: Give your first four chapters to your writing critique group/circle/partner.  If they’re willing to help you with more, give them more.  These should be writers with more experience/knowledge than you so you can grow as a writer.
Step Five: Enter contests.  Focus on the ones that have editors or agents as final judges and/or the ones that give you more than a numbered score. (What you’re looking for is constructive feedback and comments.)
Step Six: Query. Query. Submit. Repeat.
All the while, you should be working on Manuscript #2.
I know I need to celebrate my accomplishment first and enjoy my meat and potatoes.  I will.  I plan to do exactly that at our next CRW meeting.  I’ll have a mimosa toast with my blog partner and pat myself on the back for doing what I never thought I’d do.  I’ll allow myself a bit of giddy pleasure that I created these characters, introduced them, kept them apart, tortured them with conflict, and eventually got them together.  I'll party with them just long enough to take a break and then it's right back for Round 2.


Elizabeth Michels said...

I'm looking forward to that mimosa!!!! The End!!!! (Even if it is just the end of round 1.)

Ann Stewart said...

Congrats, Heather!! I'm sure you'll make a wonderful meal when it's all finished.

bitsofbrits said...

Shoes. :o)

I read that part in print/online and smile.

Congrats on the achieve so far.

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