Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To edit or not to edit

My newly reworked manuscript was rejected by the first agent I sent it to. Par for the course, I know.

But now I’m in a quandary: do I rework it with her feedback, or keep sending out the status quo, hoping it strikes others differently? If it has a fatal flaw I hate to use up all the remaining agents by continuing to send it out.

The Sisters of the Quill advise sending it to a few more; if I get the same responses then I should probably rework it. They’re always right, so I’m going to follow their advice.

Other words of wisdom, anyone?

I’m taking a few days for one more objective(?!) hardcopy look at how it might strike someone for the first time. With a hard copy in hand, I feel free to cross out big chunks that might be slowing the story. I’m more tentative editing on the computer, lest my “darlings” disappear forever into the circular cyberfile.

It takes courage to do what we do: we’re completely free, and with that freedom comes a million little choices. At the start of each sentence infinite paths beckon. We courageously embark on one, only to question it minutes later: backtrack or carry on? Every decision we make evokes another question.

Somehow we must find the courage to plunge moment by moment into the sea of arbitrary ideas…thank goodness for the lifesavers of our critique groups.

I’m going to dive in again, fast, before I think about those other 999,999 paths.

- Storm Petrel


  1. Hard decision, but I'd ask myself, was this my dream agent? The one I'd kneecap a fellow writer to get? If not, then I'd submit to a few more before reworking the manuscript. Because, as cliche as it is, writing is subjective, and what one agent loves, a publisher might not. So send it out again, take the risk.

  2. Julie (j.a.), your comment cracked me up. I thought of Tonya Harding right away--a thought, mind you, that doesn't often accompany my morning coffee. Stormy--wouldn't it be great if some higher writing power could tell us what to do? It's not the work I mind so much, it's wondering about right and wrong--publishing wise.