So you’ve reached the end of your manuscript, finally! For the fourth time. In approximately 20 years. Pat yourself on the back? Hold on. You’ve only just begun. Huge decisions lie in wait.
Who will edit? Who will beta read? Which to do first? OMG, you better have a proofreader lined up for after the revisions.
What about a cover design? Can you pull it off on your own? A test run of your own feeble attempts proves that you need a professional.
What happens when you get the manuscript back from your beta readers and your editor?
When two readers recommend, almost verbatim, the same thing, you’d better pay attention. Groan. They want a sample of her writing? My god. That’s buried somewhere in one of several boxes that are NOT organized, categorized, or catalogued. Just the thought of digging through all that stuff again is enough to delay progress by at least a week, or two. And then, faced with it again, another procrastination while changing the summer wardrobe to fall, which leads to doing laundry, which all distracts from the search.
The first box delivers nothing useful. The second box, why is that even still there under the bed? It’s only got two fat photo albums in it and those are relatively current—depicting the journey to Germany in 1978. Sigh. The other two big boxes are holding up Fibber McGee in the closet. Just diving into those boxes is a scary plunge into secret passages with mysterious tunnels.
One reader wants to know what type of fan is in the 1950s car without air-conditioning. What kind of fan? Well, the fan in the damned dashboard, of course! Does it have some sort of name? Google—unsuccessful. Out to car in the garage, search the owner’s manual— All sorts of info about “Climate Control.” References to the fan. Ah hell. It’s a fan. That’s all. Next?
Some comments elicit a nod and a quick fix. Others are more troubling. Table the manuscript and read a book for a while. Mull the problem for a few days.
The post-drafting, pre-publishing process proceeds in fits and starts. Maybe it will be finished before Christmas, which is the optimal time. But maybe not. It’s taken 20 years, what’s another month?
Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com said:
Whoa! It sounds like you have some great beta readers. Better those questions than a bunch of “it’s perfect!” “Great job” etc. As frustrating and time-consuming as it all is, it appears that you are well on your way to producing a fabulous book. Yay you!
Thanks Janis. Definitely on the way. It’s a real mixture of frustration and anticipation. I am lucky to have some fine Beta readers. Like the 9th month…
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Jane's Heartsong said:
Arrrrrgh! the frustration! One task at a time. I agree with Janis, who shows some real insight, I know people praising me, especially with no reason why, leaves me feeling doubtful about their expertise and leaves me up in the air. I have trouble trusting in that.At least some constructive criticism with reasons, gives me something more tangible to work with.Your analogy of the ninth month speaks well of the agony of waiting-lets just get this over with!
Yes Jane, it really takes time to provide well thought out constructive criticism. I think many of us in the blogosphere are overwhelmed with the volume of our reading to be able to do the hard work of criticism. I’ve enjoyed and appreciated the few but brave and thoughtful critical comments I’ve had along the way. We simple can’t grasp the intricacies that lie inside our own brains but which are vital for outsiders to understand what we’re trying to convey.
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So it’s push … push … PUSH … soon be there!
And don’t forget to BREATHE!
Sorry you are feeling overwhelmed. I’m sure it will all work out!
Alli Farkas said:
No rest for the wicked. Wicked good, that is, as they would say in Maine.
I can only hope. 😉