After receiving feedback on Dead and Buryd from a friend who was kind enough to read the complete manuscript, we had a frank and in depth discussion about current problems within the manuscript. Up until this point, I was rather proud of the story I had created. This isn’t to say that she didn’t have some great things to say about the story, she enjoyed it, but there were definitely some elements that I hadn’t noticed myself before she pointed them out to me.
I know some people who probably would have been rather upset at the prospect of ripping apart their perfect manuscript, and there was a point where I felt like crying – not because I was angry or upset that it wasn’t viewed as being as beautiful as I thought, but because I’d not seen it myself.
We’re too close to our own work. We view our manuscript very much the way we joke that mothers see their children. They are the most beautiful and perfect creation. Well, my baby isn’t perfect.
There were two options. I could either dig my heels in, snap that she was wrong and cut all ties because how dare she insult my darling baby… or I could take a breath, sleep on it, and realise that her feedback was the absolute best thing that could have happened.
I got this feedback early enough to change things. Yes, I have submitted the first three chapters to agents, but they haven’t seen the rest, so I can work on making that better.
Luckily, the first three chapters aren’t going to change. It’s the rest of it.
So, as you can see by the picture above, today I tore my manuscript apart. I wrote a description of each chapter as it stands, cut it out and laid it out in front of me. Each chapter got a post-it note as to whether it needed rewriting, partial rewriting, or was fine as it was (bar any edits that will be needed once the bigger rewrites are done.) Then I also moved some chapters around, bringing some forward, moving others back, adding a few chapters as well.
It’s going to be a big task, I know that already. I have at least 12 chapters that need to be at least partially rewritten, six new chapters, and every chapter will need edits of some kind after that. Still, laying it all out, being able to see the flaws and even better, being able to see how to fix them, fills me with a sense of organised improvement.
Then, when that’s done… maybe I can get back to writing the sequel.