A few weeks ago, a friend sent my manuscript back to me with a few notes on what needed changed or fixed. I delayed going over her notes while I wasn’t feeling well, but a couple week ago, I dove into getting my manuscript in tip top shape.
Just fixing all the problems she saw in the manuscript, except as I read through the thing for the first time since before my husband died, I realized it needed a few tweaks, and every once in awhile I’d do a find for a key word and make the changes I thought needed done. The only problem is, I wasn’t sure that those keys words covered all the spots where the changes needed made.
I reread the manuscript again, looking for all those places I might have missed. Unfortunately, as I read through the thing, again, I came up with more tweaks the story really did need, and I again used a few key words to find the most important scenes where I could make them, but it wasn’t necessarily all the places.
I set to work, going through it one more time with the hope I wouldn’t think of anymore tweaks. No such luck! But this time I was determined not to go over it again. Frankly, I was afraid to read it clear through one more time, because each time I did I found something else.
The only trouble is all those tweaks added to a word count that was barely within the industry standard to begin with.
More like round four through twenty-four, but this time I picked a word or phrase from my list of not good words, then searched them out with that dandy little “find” button. Some I deleted, some I changed, and occasionally I completely rewrote the sentence, to eliminate more words.
And I haven’t even gotten it to beta readers yet!
What’s more, I wrote the rough draft the summer before 9/11, so this was just the most recent round of edits on what had once been a manuscript over 130 thousand words and so full of telling it was a disaster. And I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve gone over, rewritten, and changed this story.
My guess is a couple dozen times. How many times do you go over your manuscript before you feel it’s ready? Is it ever ready? Or do you, like me, still find something to tweak every time you read it?
Happy writing everyone. 😊