Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How do you know you're ready?

So many editors, agents and published authors give the advice of "Don't submit a manuscript until it's ready." Well...how do you ever really know?

I'm in the middle of revising an old manuscript. This MS has been revised before. This is probably the second or third time. This MS has been out on submission twice. The second time was after extensive revision and probably a year and a half's time. Both times I sent it out, I truly thought it was great. I had worked on editing it for months. I'd gotten tons of feedback from writers group members and beta readers. Everyone thought it was great.

But as with anything, the more you do it, the more you learn. So of course I know more now than I did back then. And yeah, this most recent revision has fixed even more problems. Once again, I think it's great. I'm hoping to finish up one last read through today before I send it to beta readers.

But, I've been here before, thinking something is great, but it's really not.


  1. I feel you. I've been there. It's so true that the more you learn, the better the writing gets. The question is when is it time to stop fixing one book and just apply all that knowledge to a new book?

    I don't know the answer to that, but I think we just keep at it. One way or another, we just keep writing and hope at some point something will work out.

  2. That's the thing... there is a no man's land in which you can get stuck constantly revising and never submitting. Knowing when you're ready though is never easy to figure out.

  3. How do you know when it's ready? Yikes. Hard question. I go through finished books now and still think "I want to change that line!" But this is possibly because I wrote that book nearly two years ago, and I've grown so much since then as a writer. Maybe this is your issue, too, if it's an old draft?

    If I wasn't successful this time, I might take some elements of this MS into a new one. That's been fruitful for me. Re-writing and yet not, if you know what I mean.

    (And hello from another Lyrical author!).

  4. Hi Lucy! Thanks for stopping by!! :)

    Part of me really wants to keep this story and work on it til it's great, but the other part wants to just stop wasting time and forget about it. But every time I have sent it out on submission, I truly thought it was great.

  5. I spent last year as an editorial intern and it helped immensely in terms of learning how and why certain books get published. Certainly shapes my writing now. Follow some editorial blogs/Twitters, if you aren't already. All food for thought!

  6. Oh yes...I follow tons!!! It definitely helps...I know a lot more now than I did 2-3 years ago. But I think sometimes we are way too close to our own writing to really know.