I am openly admitting that one of my unpublished manuscripts, quite frankly, sucks.
I realized this one day last week...and it was a total lightbulb moment.
I had done some major revisions and had sent it to beta readers. I got some feedback from two readers, one writer, one reader who does not also write, and both gave me a ton of things to consider and think about. They had great points and I was excited to get to work. I was all gung ho about fixing it up and sending it out for submission. Then I got an email from one of the other betas..another reader who does not also write. She apologized for having the story for so long. She just didn't have time to read it, but was planning on it. Gave me some feedback on what she had read so far. I told her it was okay. I had already gotten some feedback and had a bunch of things I was working on in the story. It was no big deal if she stopped reading. I mentioned I had another finished manuscript I needed readers for, if she was interested in doing that instead. She said "sure."
I sent the file and later that night she emailed me and said she had already read 176 pages. She emailed me the next afternoon saying she'd finished it. LOVED it. It sucked her in from page one and she did not want to stop reading. She loved the twists and turns. The ending surprised her. It was all the things every writer dreams of hearing about their story.
And then came my lightbulb moment. She started reading MS #1 and she just did not have time. But MS #2, she MADE time to read it...all...in two days....with a full time job, husband and 1 year-old son. Just that right there told me everything I needed.
I knew MS #1 needed more tension..in my MCs life, in the hero and heroine's relationship. Everything was so easy. Problems were resolved too quickly. I knew this form my other beta's feedback. But it had never really occurred to me that it was just a boring story.....that needed too much work to fix.
But I do now. And I am so ready to perfect MS #2! I was excited about the book before...I'd felt it was really good. But I'd had those feelings before. But this new feedback definitely confirms it a little more!
So, I have decided to move on from MS#1. I wrote it a while back...when I was still figuring things out. (Which doesn't mean I have things totally figured out now, but I do know more than I did when I wrote it!) I am at peace with my decision to shelve it permanently. I had shelved it in the past, but never with the intention of never picking it up again. But maybe someday I can start from scratch and use the same characters. There's always that! :)