I have finally finished the edits for my next book in the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series – Hide Nor Hair. They seemed as vast as the ocean! I got up early, stayed up late, and fixed, fussed, read and reread to the point where I was sure my eyes would bleed. A few things needed to be added and two major scenes were trashed. The addition took some thought on my part, where the tossed parts broke my heart.
And the book is better because of the changes.
As writers, I think that we consider our words “golden,” yet nothing in a manuscript is carved in stone. At times the best parts have to be tossed for the sake of flow. Sometimes things must be added to better explain the situation or the character’s point of view. These happened to me and I’m sure it also happens to anyone brave enough to write a novel and send it out into the world in search of a publisher.
My first book, New Math Is Murder, went through extensive edits and rewrites. Though it was basically a cozy, I broke so many rules of the genre that if presented to hard core cozy readers, it would have been a major disappointment. Sure, I was annoyed, even a little angry and insulted by the suggestions to improve the manuscript. With this new book, Hide Nor Hair, I understood completely why certain changes had to be made.
First, nobody is perfect – especially not writers. We make mistakes. Our rhythm and timing is a little off at times. We miss errors. We can’t (or won’t) always see the whole picture.
Second, if you’re lucky enough to have great editors (as I do at PageSpring Publishing), they will point out these lapses. As embarrassing as it seems, the errors don’t signify a lack of talent, an IQ of somewhere around 41, or even lazy, sloppy work habits. They are simply mistakes we all fail to catch or gaps in the storyline that we didn’t acknowledge. Sometimes we are so close to our own work that we can’t judge it properly – we can’t see the forest for the trees.
This is why God made editors!
So the word for today is rewrite! Don’t let it scare you, as it did me. Plunge right into changes and edits, and make your work even better than before. Your manuscript will read all the better if you do.
Have you ever been embarrassed by the errors in your manuscript or suggestions of a rewrite? Share it with a comment!