Working the Manuscript

You’ve written your first draft, you’ve let it sit in a drawer for a month, now it’s time to look at it again with fresh eyes. But how exactly do you take this very rough first draft and turn it into something remotely publishable?

ebookOk, so I have reviewed other author’s manuscripts, I’ve critiqued their writing and suggested directions for improvement, I’ve demanded major structural changes of other author’s precious work and edited their work into pretty decent stories. I was logical, rational, thorough, and unemotional about it – I was working from the outside in. So why do I tremor when faced with my own manuscript?

As author, I am working from the inside out, I am attached to the story in ways that I am not attached to other peoples’ work, despite laughing and crying with their characters, despite sitting on the edge of my chair and eagerly devouring their next page. My characters, my plot points, the whole of my story is of me, it comes from me (or at least through me). At least two of these characters have lived in my head for years before I put them onto paper, the story has evolved with me for months, permeating my dreams, following on my walks, sitting with me in cafes, taking on a life that I tried to keep up with…and now?

After putting the manuscript aside for a month I wonder if it is any good after all. I wonder if I have enough distance to approach the manuscript with the right amount of detachment. I wonder if I have what it takes to do the work needed to shape a novel. I wonder if anyone will care either way. Doubts breed fear. So perhaps at this point, the most important thing to do is to forget the desired result – the published book that people want to read, and to immerse myself in story…in this story…

In the village of Cukmantl, not far from Velké Losiny, Jindřich Boblig, the witch hunter is born…


Keep an eye out for my upcoming posts about HOW to revise your manuscript.


Photo credit: Illuminated Manuscript


NOTE: I aim to blog on Mondays and Fridays each week, so I have to apologise for not posting a blog on Friday 11th October…an example of life getting in the way! I will try my very best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.



2 thoughts on “Working the Manuscript

  1. This is what I should be doing now!! Weekend reading I think! 🙂 Actually fun editing others work- trying to get inside the head of the writer and anticipate where they were actually going with subplots and twists 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *