The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Revisions

The ending stages of getting a novel out are much more tedious than I expected. Once the book is finished (all three drafts or however many it took), there's still the query letter and the synopsis. Not to mention figuring out the packaging itself.

A synopsis is basically a 3-5 page summary of your entire novel, but it's not that easy. It's also got to show your "voice" as a writer and make the editor or agent reading it hunger for more. Until you've tried to do it, you have no idea how hard it is to shorten a novel down to just a couple of pages. It's torture. On top of that, there's also the query letter, which has to include an even shorter synopsis. We're talking two tiny paragraphs. 10 sentences tops. More torture, because you're scared the entire time that the editor might just toss the whole thing to the side without even reading the amazing manuscript simply because your short "blurb" in the query letter is enough of "a great hook."

During the torture of trying to write these other things, one of my critique partners decides to go out of her way to proofread and polish my manuscript. Great, right? Yes, of course. Any extra polish is helpful, because after looking at the same 180 pages for weeks, even months now, a fresh pair of eyes can catch things I didn't see. Well, apparently her eyes are catching a lot of things. While her early emails about the first few chapters were encouraging, the latest one basically said that if I send this book out as is, I'll be shooting myself in the foot and ultimately wasting my first and best chance at getting published. Wow. That was hard to take. Actually, as much as I want to say I have a thick skin and can take the criticism, it still hurts 10 hours later.

It just makes me feel so defeated. I think about my manuscript and I start to think "I can't fix anything else. I'm done." I've been working on this book for more than 8 months now. The revisions have been endless, but I've done them because I knew the book wasn't good enough. But this time, I already had the entire thing printed out and ready to send when I started getting her notes. I was ready. Mentally, I'm exhausted.

But I don't want to waste this opportunity, either. Here's the question that has no answer: When do you know a manuscript is good enough to send in? There's no answer to that question, but it's the most important question in the world right now. How do you know when it's time to stop revising and changing and just take the chance? I sat down with a Desire last night before bed and read about the first 50 pages. There were long, fragments of sentences, hyperbole, all that in there. Does that mean I should have it too? Maybe not, but it also might mean that it's not as big a deal as my critique partner believes. The one thing I did notice, however, is that the author used a lot of different and creative ways to describe the character's emotions, particularly their sexual attraction. I can see going through my book to vary those things a little. That might even be fun. But changing the story again at this point? Trying to make every sentence perfect in structure? I don't know.

I'm going to spend the whole day on this and do my best to keep a good attitude. I was so ready to be done with this...

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Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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