Guten Tag! Today has been another day of editing, revising and general polishing. Though it took me a good few hours to get through this copy of my manuscript (again, a little gracias to my readers), I am pleased to say that other than some minor errors (I promise I know the difference between “to” and “too”) and clearer phrasing here or there, I only had to make major changes to ONE scene.
I must say that this makes me happy, because I sent my manuscript to some of the most critical eyes (in a good way!) that I know. With that in mind, I’m going to post a copy of the letter I sent to my readers. Note that the “What bores you?” through to “What’s cool?” are things I borrowed from the illustrious Mary Robinette Kowal, who mentioned these things on a Writing Excuses podcast (I don’t remember the episode, or I’d link to it). Anyway, giving credit where credit is due. Here’s what I was looking for:
Thanks for taking a look at this for me. It means a lot, and I really appreciate it. I don’t have a lot of specifics things I want you all to be looking for in this draft, but rather I’m looking for how the book works as a whole. Just as a sort of guide, here are a couple of things to be thinking about as you read:
- What bores you?
- What confuses you?
- What things can’t you “believe” (what is too unreal in terms of characters, etc.)?
- What’s cool?
- Where are the problems?
- What elements would you like to see more of?
- And finally, what parts do you think can be cut? We’re talking scenes, characters, events and anything else you think might not work.
If you can’t or don’t find anything for one of these sections/categories, that’s fine. Basically I want you to be reading through this like a regular reader to see if everything works. If you find a misplaced semicolon or something, feel free to fix it, but bear in mind that grammar and punctuation aren’t the only things I’m looking for. I’d rather you left the semicolon and told me “this character is abysmally boring” or “I think this scene has a lot of good sensory detail” or something of that sort that will make my writing better.
My end goal with this is to have something I can submit to an agent/publishing house after I’ve gone through everyone’s comments. With that in mind please be honest! It won’t do me any good if you keep the bad parts from me. Show me where I can improve. If I get your copy back and it has so much red it looks like a water buffalo was disemboweled over it that’s fine! I’d rather that than an untouched manuscript with “Looks Great!” scribbled on the front page. I know there are some issues. Find them and tell me about them.
Thanks again for taking a look at this for me. Your critical eyeballs are much appreciated!
And that’s the insight that I was looking for from my wonderful readers. They are wonderful, peachy folks, and I’m incredibly grateful that they each consented to look over my manuscript. Writing may be a solitary process, but effective editing takes a whole herd of people. Thanks again to my people with the critical eyeballs! (Okay, done with my little rave, promise.)
P.S. This weekend my dear wife and I are celebrating our anniversary (yes, I remember, it’s on Sunday) so we’re excited to get away for a bit! See you all on Monday!