Finishing a project is a reward in and of itself—one that I highly recommend. Ignoring the fact that you can’t submit what you haven’t written, there’s an emotional high to writing the words The End, followed closely by a glow of pride.
I finished. I completed a task. Me. All by myself. I had an idea, followed through, and finished the race.
Yeah, baby! What a rush!
Next comes the fear of sending your pride and joy to first readers. What if they don’t like it? What if they say it sucks, that you should shelve this one and try again? For me, the answer has always been, “Better friends than editors and agents!”
I can count on my friends to deliver criticism with care. Editors and agents will simply send a form rejection. So I trust my first readers to bring on the crits in the hope that I can polish off enough rough edges to avoid the rejection.
I’ve just completed this cycle with The Silver Casket. I made it to The End, basked in a contented glow for a couple of days, and then ran through my first polishing pass. I liked it…always a good thing.
Next I sent it off to three trusted friends, each with a unique perspective. One is a fellow romance writer, not yet published but whose recent manuscripts have been requested by editors; one is a science fiction and screenplay writer with a keen eye for story; and the third is an avid romance reader—she represents my target audience.
The story was significantly over the required word budget. My CPs helped me see where I could trim without mangling the storyline. My reader friend gave me valuable insight as to what was and was not of interest. I slashed and hacked my way through what I hoped would be my final revision. Once the story was within the required word count and I was satisfied I had done my best, I printed out a copy and handed it to my final reader…my DH.
DH is a stickler for detail and not a romance fan. Admirable qualities for a final reader looking for copy-edit errors. I’m thrilled to say he found only one discrepancy which had remained in place after all other references had been slashed. AND, he gave me a much appreciated male perspective on the ending.
I reworked the final paragraphs (because his comments were absolutely correct) and saved a version worthy of submittal. Sigh.
The Silver Casket went out to its target market late Sunday night, and I am at peace. Whether or not the editor buys is not within my control, but I have done my job…and done it to the best of my current ability.
I’m enjoying a moment of satisfaction…before I begin the process anew!