I have read dozens of blogs and so many articles I can't count on the subject of finishing a manuscript. There doesn't seem to be any hard and fast rules for being done. In fact, many writers submit thinking they are done and then end up making changes because their agent or editor said to. However, Agent Kate Schafer Testerman, gives a good checklist to submission here. It has helped me to know when things are ready to go.
Manuscript ProblemsThere are some other things to take into consideration before sending off your MS. Chuck Sambuchino has a great post here on finding problems in your MS. This is what I want to talk about today. Mr. Sambuchino has a great point about subconscious problems in your MS. He says that most people already know there is a problem, they just hope no one else can spot it. When it is pointed out to them, they acknowledge it and find the gumption to jump in and fix it. This is where I stand. I have a great 83,000 word MS that I'd love to send in to a publisher but I know there is a problem with it. It needs to be fixed before I send it and I don't have time to do it. I've also been through this MS so many times I can't stand to see it open on my desktop. Blech. Alas, it has to be done.
The Key to SubmittingSo this is the key (for me and maybe for you too) for submitting: PATIENCE. I want to get these books out there and get them published - now. In fact, if I could do it, I'd send them out after a rough draft. However, one look at my rough draft and an agent or editor would send out a form rejection faster than you can say, "Shoot." So, I edit and then edit some more. It isn't my favorite part of the process. I love drafting, meeting new characters and finding out what they will do when I throw them into horrific circumstances. It makes me feel alive. Editing, on the other hand, makes me feel like I'm combing through a pile of dirt to find a penny. The editing is just as important as the drafting - if not more so.
Will I ever be done? Will you? I will give you a resounding - YES!
We will finish these manuscripts and we will send them out into the big scary world of cut-throat agents and red-ink happy editors and we will continue to love them and nurture them until that beautiful day when we sign a contract and see them fly! Carry on writers - carry on!