If you’ve been reading the blog this week, you know I have a pitch appointment with an agent this coming weekend. In typical fashion, I’ve been throwing myself into the preparation and research with a zeal normally reserved for when I get the bug to start decorating or organizing the house. (See my posts on Organizing Your Life in One Week if you don’t believe me…). Meaning – there are times when I try to do too much in a short period of time and perhaps go a little overboard.
Last night is a case in point. I went to a bookstore to research titles from authors this agent represents. Of course, every book seemed funnier, more poignant, more beautiful than anything I could write (there goes the Inner Mean Girl again). So instead of spending the evening working on my actual pitch and preparing answers to questions that might come up during the session, I decided to obsess over my manuscript.
Now, there have been times when my manuscript had serious issues that needed addressing. For example, it started as a concept with no story arc and no character development. Once that was resolved, the narrative arc of the story needed tightening up to add humor, suspense, a satisfying ending and so on. Next up was polishing the rhythm and meter to perfection. I even had a professional help me with that part. All of those big pieces are in place, but I started going line by line, looking for anything that could be made stronger. There is nothing wrong with more editing per se, except that at this point, I’m wondering if the revisions I might make are just changes for the sake of changes rather than changes that will actually strengthen the story.
My husband said as much when I got home. “You need to stop writing. You’ve written it; now just get it out there.”
“But, but, but…” I protested.
His riposte? “Look, at this point you’re just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
That comment stopped me in my tracks, not only because he had just compared my manuscript to a sinking ship (unintentional, I’m sure), but because he was absolutely right and communicated the point in the only way I could grasp: excellent word choice. 🙂
So today I have pledged to make just one final review of the manuscript. Then I need to follow the advice of John Burrows: “LEAP…and the net will appear.”
For the writers out there, how do you know when you are finished editing? Do you ever know?Categories: Authors, Children's Books, Inner Mean Girl, Publishing, Rhyming, SCBWI, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: Children's Books, Pitch, Publishing, SCBWI, WIP, Writing