It’s been a long cold winter here in Nashville. Just as the ice and snow hit, my projects at work were completed, so I had a little spare time on my hands. You’d think having this extra time would motivate me to write write write! Or edit edit edit! But being the master procrastinator that I am, I’ve found ways to spend hours on the computer (and Netflix) without even touching my completed manuscript, Warning Signs. Or the [untitled] sequel work in progress. My time inside was literally making me stir crazy and depressed at the same time.
But just as the real March madness began this week, I returned to the world of writing. While surfing a few writer and publisher blogs, I realized this was the week of several critique contests and pitch wars. So I was in. That was the easy part.
The hard part has been looking at my manuscript. I received a critique in late January and had been putting off the edits. But when I re-read the suggestions it hit home. My manuscript, which has been in edit mode for A VERY LONG TIME, still needs polishing. A lot. I knew that, but was so thankful to get precise comments from a published author on how to improve it. Not that the usual “thank you for your query” rejection letter isn’t fun to read, but it’s so helpful to get an actual critique! I had received a few before but this was the only one that gave me concrete suggestions.
As I worked on my twitter pitches and revised my writing sample, I decided it’s time to go through my manuscript line by line again. And, I’m embarrassed to say, I found a few errors and things that I am completely rewriting. Funny how when you read something so many times you don’t really see the words on the page, especially when it’s your own words. You know what you meant but don’t realize you wrote it the wrong way. Frustrating for sure, but also rewarding to know you are improving your writing and saving yourself from submitting something that isn’t your best work.
So a big thank you to the authors and organizers of the Claymore Award contest from Killer Nashville! The detailed critique I received has me back in the saddle and happy to be writing again. Even if it means admitting my mistakes and deleting pages of useless dialogue (I can be chatty at times), I know my novel will be better after these efforts.
So now I can click away on my laptop and enjoy the real March madness. And of course, as a UNC graduate, I must end with the obligatory GO HEELS!!