Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Shift in Perspective

Back in the fall I made my first submission to a publisher and had the privilege of being asked to submit the entire manuscript for reading and review.  This was huge, and even though it was eventually rejected, I was gifted with a paragraph full of observations and suggestions by the editor whose slush pile I had landed in.

Six weeks ago I made my second submission, and while I wait to hear back from an editor, I’ve gone back to revisit that first manuscript again. In the months between, the advice I was given has been in the back of my mind, and I’ve been trying to look at how other writers “do it.”  It’s a strange shift reading books not for the characters, the plot, or even for enjoyment, but to go past all those things to see the writer’s technique. I’m still working at it, but I know I’ve picked up at least a little more understanding, because when I started the re-write, a saw my mistakes with a fresh eye. (And yes, there was some wincing.)

What seemed perfect a few months ago looked unpolished when I read it again. I found POV issues time and again despite being convinced I had managed to correct them before submission. The other point about my narrative style was also spot on, though at the time I didn’t see it at all. I’ve finished the “rough draft” of the rewrite now, and I’m shortly going to start reading it again, one word at a time, out loud, looking for the flow and style that I know I am capable of achieving when the stars align and my muse is feeling cooperative.

I don’t know if I’ve improved enough as a writer yet to have my next manuscript accepted, but I do know that I’m a better writer than I was, and I’m not done learning. I also know that eventually I will have learned enough to get published, and I suspect that’s when my real education is going to begin.

Now its time for me to go back and review my manuscript again, and this time I hope to keep the wincing to a bare minimum.