I structured this writing update in three parts, using questions that I (and I’m sure all of you) get from some well-meaning friends and family. I hope you enjoy!
What is it that you actually do?
I’ve been revising Juice of Half a Lemon for over a year now, longer than the time it took to write the damn thing. I can recite the first five chapters by heart. I wake up every morning thinking about what else I need to fix. But I think I’m almost there. I’ve made a couple of big changes in the past week and I’m a lot happier with the manuscript now, at draft 8, than I have ever been.
In saying that, its flaws and shortcomings hit me in waves. At this point, I’m holding on to that quote by Anne Enright: “Only bad writers think that their work is really good.”
Oh great, you’ve finished your book. Are you getting it published?
I remember around draft 4 when I thought, yep, after this draft I’ll be ready to query. I wrote up a query letter, a synopsis, the whole package. Then I did four more drafts.
How do I know when it really is finished?
I don’t want to rush myself to submit, but at the same time, I don’t want to keep rewriting and rewriting, making the manuscript different but not necessarily better. I don’t want to use the editing process as an excuse not to send it away.
My next steps are to:
- wait to hear back from a few more beta readers
- finish this draft
- let it sit for a while, and then do a thorough line edit
- fix up my query letter and synopsis from draft 4, ask for feedback
- submit Juice of Half a Lemon to an unpublished manuscript competition to get this whole submitting thing started.
If that doesn’t lead anywhere, I’m going to start querying agents. To the query trenches I go!
Thanks for that super long-winded answer that I did not understand/need to hear. So what are you working on next?
I’ve started brainstorming my second manuscript and am looking forward to drafting it! It’ll be a magical realism novel set in a world where people don’t have reflections.
I have been itching to go on another writing residency, so I think I’ll make that a goal for either the second half of 2018, or the first half of 2019. I work best in short bursts, as I saw with Juice of Half a Lemon, so a residency would be perfect to cover some ground on project number 2.
Please feel free to comment down below! I love hearing about other writers’ works-in-progress.
All the best,