When Your Manuscript ::doesn’t:: Suck

Surprise, surprise – I thought my recent NaNoWriMo manuscript was going to suck worse than a puckered mouth full of lemons – but ::shoulder shrug:: so far so good.  Then again, that’s my opinion today.

It’s aggravating when my traitorous mind waffles in its judgment.  One day it will tell me that I’ve written an awesome story, only to later on judge it as a complete failure to which I stash the disappointing story in a distant drawer…until one rainy day it stumbles across my desk, I dust it off to re-read, and discover it’s pretty good after all.  Argh!!

For this reason, I find the revision process to be quite the challenge.

I’m learning that I shouldn’t edit on the days I think my story is terrible.  Seems like a no-brainer, but oftentimes I find myself caught in a tweeking loop until the flavor of my original story is so changed that I really do end up with a disappointing mess.  (Let’s hear a round of applause for version control!)

So how do you really know if your manuscript is good or not?  Enter in, critique partners.

Last Wednesday marked the beginning of a self-imposed NaNoEdMo challenge with my writing buddies.  We’re setting out to conduct 50 hours of self-editing in 30 days, and also critique each other’s manuscripts, two chapters at a time.  BTW – I highly recommend the following book:  “Self-editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne & Dave King.

If it wasn’t for my sense of responsibility to meeting deadlines, I most likely would’ve just shoved my manuscript into the dark drawer of forgotten stories.  It’s so tempting to just move on to the next (of three!) story ideas brewing in my mind’s eye.

However, thanks to my writing buddies, and the surprising fact that my manuscript doesn’t suck, I’ll stick to the grueling revision process … while I still contemplate something new ;o)


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