About this time last year, I stepped away from my manuscript Little did I know, and began writing another, which I call Exposed. I had a new idea, born from a dream and I was ready to push on with this fresh project.
About half-way through, I not-so-cleverly decided to send my previous manuscript off to a beta reader. It was recommended by another writer, and although the timing wasn’t great, I thought why not?
Writing is a long game, so there’s no time to waste.
I contacted a former colleague and writer, Robyn Chesney, who I consider the ideal reader for Little did I know. Robyn is intelligent, well-read, a critical thinker and progressive. These things are important, because:
- I want constructive feedback to help me improve my writing
- Little did I know is not for the faint hearted
Robyn gave me great feedback. She asked questions, identified strengths and weaknesses, and drew my attention to areas needing more detail or depth. The process was fruitful and I felt my manuscript grew as a result.
When I finished the edit, I resumed my new project. Fast forward six months and 79,000 words, Exposed is nearly a complete draft, but it still lacks an ending. Now almost a year to the day that I started this project, I’m returning to the old, yet again.
You see, about a month ago I received a call. Someone else, let’s call him Frank, read my manuscript and he ‘half-loves’ it. Sigh. Yes, he was quite frank.
‘The concept is unique and compelling,’ he said. He cared for the characters and ‘it whipped along at a cracking pace.’
The dialogue needs work.
So, Frank set me to work editing again.
Six months between edits is a long time, but I’ve realised this is a good thing. I’ve forgotten some of the smaller details, so it feels like I’m reading it for the first time. As a result, I’m editing even harder this time. The dialogue is shorter, sharper and the scenes are tighter.
Many words have met the scrap heap, but every time I edit, I learn something new about this wonderful craft of writing. While the editing process is a long, hard slog, it is invaluable and hopefully these changes will make Little did I know a more compelling read, so that one day, I might be able to share it with you.
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