Friday, Oct. 15 – When is enough enough? So now you’ve written your novel, you’ve set it aside to ripen and you’ve edited it for typos and the usual culprits. You carefully changed tenses, changed out verbs, weeded out passive sentences, made sure the names were correct, checked view point, and made sure the flow was good. Is it ready to go out?
The more times you read your work through, aloud if necessary, especially the dialogue, the better. Spell Check doesn’t know the difference between for and fro, its and it’s or the and them. Read… it…. carefully. There! Got it? Read it like you get paid for every mistake you find. Make yourself rich. It will pay off. Now, you can kick a dead horse (Though the smell would be atrocious, especially here in the deserts of Arizona where fruit and other things ripen quickly, if you know what I mean). I digress. Keeping it two years and re-reading it every Ground Hog Day won’t help. Ideas are timely. If you miss the trend, you might as well keep it in the drawer until mood rings become vogue again. (I’ll discuss mood rings at another time for you under fifty somethings).
Read it, critique it and, if you feel it’s the best you can do, ship it. Say a prayer to your muse, who may or may not be capricious, and move on to the next great novel. To be a writer, you must write. Strange how words mean things. I wish our Presidents and Congressmen and women knew this. If you are lucky, you get a sale. Somewhat lucky, you get a rejection slip that actually tells you why you missed the mark. (I won’t say failed because publishers are very capricious and moody. A good story for one may not interest another. It doesn’t mean it sucks.)
One more thing. You will progress as a writer. You do get better. You will continually perfect your craft. Dust off those old rejects. If the premise is good, apply what you’ve learned and re write it. Who knows, that story hiding at the bottom of your filing cabinet with the mood rings and pet rocks might be the next great American novel.