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Make Sure Your Fiction is Baked to Perfection

I recently wrote a short story about a writer’s group member who committed the ultimate crime, when he dropped off during a reading by a fellow group member from their work-in-progress.  

Now I have committed a pretty serious novice writer’s crime.  I started submitting my MS before it was ready to go anywhere… other than the shredder. I’ve still got so much to learn about this writing malarky.

I’m cross with myself because I’ve have put my heart and soul into writing this, my first novel, stretching my emotional boundaries and writing outside my comfort zone. On the whole, it has been an enjoyable experience, as well as a steep learning curve.

I’m guilty of having had more than one celebration to mark ‘The End‘.  When I finished the first complete draft…

and it was shite…after finishing the first few edits… yes… it’s all very exciting when you finish editing drafts 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and even the 10th…

but celebrating all these milestones is premature. I’ve had a very doughy middle for quite some time because my novel was only half cooked.

Only now, after almost four years and I’ve forgotten how many edits I’ve done.

Only now, after receiving feedback from a few long-suffering Beta-readers who have bravely waded through my howlers and inconsistencies.

Only now I can say, hand on heart, that I’m almost there. Just one more edit and I’ll take my work-in-progress out of the oven when it will finally be fit for human consumption.

Resist the temptation to submit your manuscript too soon!

Edit again and again.

Leave it alone for a while.

Go back to it and edit again.  

Leave it be, then go back to it and edit.  

Be ruthless.  

Be brave, send it out to a few Beta-readers and I guarantee they will highlight different problems with the text.  

Do not submit until you know in your heart that your literary bun in the oven is cooked to perfection.

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One thought on “Make Sure Your Fiction is Baked to Perfection

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  1. Excellent advice, especially the part about walking away from it for a while after the first couple of revisions–it’s never easy for a writer to read their own work as another reader would, but time makes the obvious holes and “overwrites” easier to identify.

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