I have read hundreds of books and some stand out more than others, while there are those that slip down the wayside. Why? I probably could re-iterate an English lesson here but what it really comes down to is one major factor: do you like what you’ve read? This business of writing is so subjective that even if you have a great story, it doesn’t mean the agent or publisher will like it. You are at the mercy of whether the story strikes a chord with them.
So what do you do next? You submit to other agents and when you have had enough, you strategise. In my case, I re-read the story, edited and re-edited, then met a fellow writer and formed a critiquing partnership and undergo further edits. It’s all relative. Mind you, it’s a work in progress. All writing is. No matter how many times you look at it, re-read, and edit, the work is ongoing.
Sometimes I wonder how many times J.K. Rowling edited her books, or even Michael Connelly. One question I’d like to have an answer to is: how do you know when to stop editing? I can keep the editing process going for ages, amend the manuscript and still find fault. Have to eventually stop sometime.
There is also the concern of changing voice and plot. I have to admit to being concerned at the critiquing process. You are handing someone the total sum of your dreams. Will they like it or not? They may think it stinks and then what? How much will I need to scrap and change? I can tell you my fingernails were punished for a while there! We’re coming up to six months now and honestly, it has been the best experience. I have learnt lots and am sort of prepared for a workshop in a few weeks time where Juliet Marillier will be critiquing my work.
I think its time for the nails to grow back.