Between semesters, I was able to get a lot of writing done so book two is first draft finished and now it’s time to do all the work that it takes to really make it a submittable manuscript. Most people think when it’s complete, meaning you reach “the end,” that a book is finished and that’s really just the half of it. Before this goes to my agent I will read through it slowly again for continuity of scenes then I will read it several times looking for grammatical errors and do a general line edit for faults of any kind – grammar, format, spacing, left out words, double letters, missing punctuation – all of that and more.
Once It is where I think it’s close to complete and formatted properly, then it’s time for others to rad it for effect. This is where writers sometimes fault as many give it to mom or a friend and they love it (because how many writers do they know?) and the feedback is disproportionately good. That’s not what a writer is after at this point. Tell me you got lost here, or that a character wasn’t drawn clearly, or that the sequencing doesn’t make sense, or that when I did a time transition you had no idea what was then going on. I see it as I want it seen, not as a reader might see it since I KNOW what it’s supposed to say. I NEED feedback.
Deadly honest, punch-me-in-the-stomach feedback. The book only gets stronger when those who red it are honest and “I really like it” doesn’t tell me anything. What did you like? Why? Could I have told it better? That sort of feedback is what any real writer wants and needs. It’s about the manuscript getting better and the writer figuring out where he/she needs to improve their craft and trust me – all of us can improve somewhere, even those we consider the greats of literature, past and present. Faulkner flourishes, Hemingway can be too obtuse, King drags sometimes. It’s okay, writing the novel isn’t a perfect venture. W. Somerset Maugham never made a more correct statement than when he said: “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”