And then the mail brought the critique letters from the writing contest (did I mention I also entered the HWG Manuscript contest?) Over 100 manuscripts were submitted to this contest, and my manuscript placed in the top 15, just outside the "Honorable Mention" category - which thrilled me to no end. Especially since it was the first time I'd ever entered a contest like that. The critiques were positive, but contained a few suggestions for improvements, as they should. I love the criticism – I think it will make me a better writer – but it sent me back to the manuscript to make changes, even while three agents were expecting to see some chapters from me.
I still haven’t sent them anything.
It turns out revision is a tricky business, especially after you think your manuscript is finished. Going back to flesh out the characters more, to change their perspective, leads to sweeping changes later in the story, and soon I found I was rearranging entire sections to make the plot line flow better. I’m still working on it.
And the clock is ticking.
Pressure to finish, self-imposed deadlines, four hungry kids and a full time job – it’s enough to make me question my sanity. Why am I doing this? Because I have to. It’s a compulsion, a driving need to share the story that has its own reserved chamber in my heart. I want to get it out there, but it needs to be right.
My family tells me to send it – after all, it made the top 15 list. My writing friends tell me to keep revising – the agents will wait for it. I hope they’re right. I continue to revise, aiming for the grand prize – the list of published authors. That’s the real list I want to make.