I first posted this blog November 2015 under the illusion that I had finished the manuscript. I sent it to a friend and mentor for a second opinion – just one last read through. The final gloss. She provided me with detailed feedback, which has taken me 18 months to execute. I am a much better writer for it – the manuscript is far stronger.
I’m not going to tell you it’s complete now.
We shall see.’
29/11/2015 (original blog)
Manuscript complete – Part 1 of a dark, gritty young adult fantasy trilogy. Hooray!
I finished the first draft this time last year and have been polishing it ever since. Patience is one of the Five Ps I spoke about in an earlier blog. I’ve been patient with this one, working with a brilliant mentor. I didn’t need compliments and she rarely gave them! I had to raise my game (excuse the cliché). I also completed a couple of handy writing courses during the drafting stages, chosen specifically to plug holes in my craft.
It’s been a long, slow incredibly productive learning curve. Six months ago, I thought I’d finished. I set the manuscript aside for two weeks – this is something all authors must do. Heed the advice. When I returned to the story, I realised the book still had a long way to go. Again – patience.
But I got there.
The completed manuscript is now sitting printed on my desk. It seems a living breathing thing to me, a reminder of the hundreds of hours involved in creating a polished piece of prose. Every author will know this feeling. Handing it over will be difficult. I’ll be saying goodbye to the characters, my constant companions for the last two years.
On the flipside, I’ll blog much more frequently now that I’ve got some free time on my hands – the next story is already brewing in my brain but I’ll keep off the keyboard for a couple of months to catch up on my reading pile. Just finished Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life. Witty, insightful and, at times, deeply sad. Everything I’ve come to expect from one of my favourite authors.
I’ll leave you with two quotes – the first one my partner will appreciate. She often comments on my vampiric skin tone. The second is more for me.
‘Writers don’t have lifestyles. They sit in little rooms and write’ – Norman Mailer
‘Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead’ – Gene Fowler.
A thousands smiles