Friday, February 1, 2013

I'm finished!!!....Oh wait! I'm not....

There's nothing more satisfying than writing the last two words of any manuscript: "The End." You've slaved for weeks, months, or maybe even years to type up the ideas that swirl around in your head. You've agonized over trivial things like punctuation and what words should be used to express your point in the best way. You've come up with conflict until it snowballs at the climax near the end. Now you rest with a blissful smile on your face because you're done....

...Except that you aren't done at all.

Soon, you find out that you need to re-read that whole 50,000+ word document and self-edit. As you go through it, the rosy glasses you once wore fall off your face. You realize that chapter ten isn't emotionally compelling enough, but you can make it moreso by adding a thousand words to chapter nine. You need to change the gender of the best friend of your main character and add romantic tension between him and someone else to spice up the story. You're already getting a headache just thinking about the mess you have to clean.

But then you re-write it. I'm done! You scream to the world! You want everyone to know how hard you worked and how ridiculously difficult doing all that was. You've worked hundreds of hours and been paid nothing, but it doesn't matter because now the whole story is complete.

And then you give it to your critique partners. Your face falls as you receive your manuscript back all marked in red. But I just finished it, you whine. And one of my critique partners wants me to change the main character's best friend back into a girl? So what if they have a good point?! All that hard work will be for nothing!

You groan, but you sit down. You've come so far, you can't give up now. As you follow their critiques, you see your manuscript getting better every day. Your heart swells up in pride again until you're finished.

This time, you tell everyone that you're done more hesitantly. I thought I was done two other times, but I was wrong. What if I'm wrong again?

And the cruel trick of the universe is that you are absolutely correct that you're wrong! Because once you figure out how to publish your book, you give it to your editor and they scribble notes across all the margins. It's like all that work you did before didn't matter. Your main character should have two best friends, both a boy AND a girl and the romantic tension should be between the two of them. It will make the story great, your editor insists!

You sigh as you do more revisions, glaring at the computer screen. You hate your manuscript now and you just want to be finished with it already.

Once you run out of red marks and notes, you stare at it anxiously. You ask people if it's ready to be published. Did you re-read it? Yes, you say! Did an editor read it? Yes, you shout! Your voice gets louder and joins a chorus of well-wishers. It's time to publish your book. It was like this would never happen! Finally, you're done....

Except you're not really done. Now that you've completed the first book, it's time for book number 2...

Welcome to an eternity of running through a hamster wheel! Don't try to get off because you love it too much to stop!


Tricia Drammeh said...

This is so true!

SC Author said...

So so true! I still want to finish my new/rewritten MS though D:

T.J. said...

And sometimes, you just put those MS away...because after so many edits, you get sick thinking of opening them again LOL

This is so true. The challenges, the critical thinking, the imagination used, all of it is addictive. Reading others worlds and words, addictive. It is not one I want to go to rehab for.

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